How The Survivor Tree from 9/11 Lives On (Learn More, Multi-Video)

As the dust began to settle on lower Manhattan, and rescue and recovery workers made their way through the rubble, they came upon a tree.

Although this tree had snapped roots and burned branches, it was alive — it had survived.

This one tree, survived the World Trade Center attacks.

Barely alive, it endured following years of off-site intensive care and rehabilitation by The New York Parks Department.

The pear tree became known as the “Survivor Tree” after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center.

It soon became a symbol of our nation’s enduring optimism and unbreakable spirit after the 9/11 attacks.

(The Survivor Tree, a callery pear, was pulled from the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center site after the 2001 attacks and has grown to become a living reminder of the nation’s shared strength and resiliency. See a story about its remarkable journey of survival and rebirth. Courtesy of 9/11 Memorial & Museum and YouTube. Posted on May 24, 2013)

Recovery workers recognized the beauty of this tree’s fight for life and it was transported to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

After several years of healing and rehabilitation, the Callery pear tree — now known as the Survivor Tree — returned to the 9/11 Memorial.

The Survivor Tree
The Survivor Tree

New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present.

During the tree’s rehabilitation, tree scientists at Bartlett collected seeds and propagated 450 descendants of the original tree.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum began a tradition of giving seedlings from the Survivor Tree each year to communities around the world that have endured violence and disaster in the hope of sharing with them its spirit of strength and resilience.

As part of the Survivor Tree Seedling Program, each year saplings are conveyed in September to communities affected by tragedy.

As with the Survivor Tree, the saplings will provide an inspirational landmark for these communities, in the spirit of hope and resiliency.

(When the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001, one tree survived through the wreckage and was given the name “The Survivor Tree.” From the seeds of this survivor come 450 descendants. This is the story of these trees and their caretakers. Courtesy of the Bartlett Tree Experts and YouTube. Posted on Sep 11, 2013)

For example, a special inaugural presentation at Citi Field preceding the September 11 New York Mets, Washington Nationals game, a sapling donation ceremony was held.

Participants included the 9/11 Memorial amongst others, and those receiving on behalf of the following communities that suffered tragedies that year:

  1. The City of Boston: in honor of the three killed and many injured in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.
  2. Far Rockaways, NY: for the devastation sustained from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
  3. Prescott, Arizona: in honor of the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting squad that lost 19 men on June 30, 2013.

The Survivor Tree embodies our nation’s spirit of hope and healing, strength and resilience in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Each year, the 9/11 Memorial gives seedlings from the Survivor Tree to three communities that have endured tragedy in recent years.

The Survivor Tree seedling program was launched on September 11, 2013, in partnership with Bartlett Tree Experts, of Stamford, Conn., and John Bowne High School in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens.

(Alice Martin, who lost her husband on September 11, 2001, gets a private tour of the memorial site and learns the story of the Survivor Tree. Courtesy of the History Channel and YouTube. Posted on Sep 9, 2012)

Today, the tree stands on the Memorial plaza as a symbol of hope and healing.

(It was the last living thing rescued from the ruins of 9/11. A dozen years later, one mythical pear tree is finally home, and branching out from Ground Zero in mystical ways. Courtesy of Narratively and YouTube. Posted on Jun 24, 2014)

Content and images courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum