Having the oldest and largest Cypress tree was a source of pride for us in Seminole County. We don't have a lot of landmarks, but that tree could compare to any of the natural wonders of the world. It certainly did for those blessed to see it for the first time.
My sadness of the loss is almost matched by my anger for the apparent incompetence in the investigation. Almost immediately, an investigator from FL Department of Agriculture ruled out arson, saying it was likely either a lightning strike or "friction". Really? Does anyone remember any lightning the past few days? So out of nowhere there was a lightning bolt that happened to hit only the Senator in the middle of the night and nothing else? The other explanation is equally preposterous. We are supposed to believe a tree that stood 3500 years spontaneously combusted?
Maybe they did happen, but I would bet targeted arson is a heck of a lot more likely, and it certainly should not have instantaneously been ruled out. If it was arson, I'm sure the perpetrator is laughing his head off... and pondering now if he can get away with attacking the sister tree, Lady Liberty.
Hopefully our officials will realize the danger and at the very least have a motion sensor around Lady Liberty to alert if someone gets close at night. Unlike man-made national monuents, these can never be rebuild.