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'Survivor Tree' That Withstood 9/11 Attacks Returns to WTC to Grow on Memorial Plaza (Update X3)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Chris Ward today planted the “survivor tree,” marking its homecoming to the World Trade Center site. Bloomberg, who is Chairman of the 9/11 Memorial, also announced the completion of structural steel for the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion.

9/11 survivors Keating Crown, Tom Canavan and Ret. FDNY Lt. Mickey Kross also attended the planting of the Survivor Tree.

The callery pear tree became known as the Survivor Tree after sustaining extensive damage, but living through the September 11, 2001, terror attacks at the World Trade Center. In October 2001, the tree with lifeless limbs, snapped roots and blackened trunk was discovered and freed from the piles of smoldering rubble in the plaza of the World Trade Center. The tree was originally planted in the 1970s in the vicinity of buildings four and five in the WTC complex near Church Street.

The damaged tree measured eight-feet tall when it arrived in November 2001 at the Parks Department’s Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.  It was nursed back to health and today has grown to a height of about 30 feet. The tree returned to the site this morning from Van Cortlandt Park by a flatbed truck.

Now that it has been planted at the 9/11 Memorial, the tree will grow among hundreds of swamp white oak trees.

Updated: WABC reported on the survivor tree planting. The television station's website features several photos of the planting. Also, go to, to check out the story and photo gallery.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff