Survivor Tree Represents Resiliency, Strength

The green leaves of the Survivor Tree contrast against the orange leaves of surrounding swamp white oaks as several visitors walk by on Memorial plaza.
Since 9/11 recovery efforts, the Survivor Tree has served as a symbol of strength and rebuilding. (Photo: Jin Lee)

On the 9/11 Memorial plaza is the “Survivor Tree,” a callery pear tree that was discovered at Ground Zero in October 2001 severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches.

After being removed from the rubble, it was placed in the care of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Following its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010, where it remains as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.

We asked our Facebook followers what they thought the Survivor Tree represented to them. (You can also view some of the responses on our Storify here.) Strength, survival and rebuilding were among the common themes. In their own words, here is what they said:

• “We persevere and are resilient. Our limbs may break but our foundation stays strong.”

• “It represents determination to persevere with strength and dignity and that we will never forget those lost that day. This tree is a living memorial to all those we lost on 9/11. We will go on, [re]build, and REMEMBER!”

• “To me, the tree represents that we survived 9/11 and we will continue to survive and rebuild.”

• “Eric and I were engaged at the tree last January. To us it represents strength, endurance and survival.”

• “Resilience, strength, and the power of the american spirit... the souls of all of those who passed that day brought this tree back to life. you can bend us, even break us, but we will come back stronger than ever.”

• “Healing and moving forward in life”

• “That we can overcome anything as long as we are united. Nothing can break us.”

• “That even as bad as that day was, and how painful the memories, life can spring from the ashes...”

By Jordan Friedman, 9/11 Memorial Research and Digital Projects Associate

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