NEW YORK, NY.- The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
announced today it is giving seedlings from the 9/11 Memorial's "Survivor Tree" to three communities that have endured tragedy in recent years. The Survivor Tree embodies our nation's spirit of hope and healing, strength and resilience in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
As part of the announcement, the 9/11 Memorial and creative firm BBDO New York have partnered to publish an interactive e-book called "Survivor Tree," narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. The poem book tells the heartwarming story of the Survivor Tree, a callery pear recovered from the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center and nursed back to health before it was replanted on the Memorial.
The Survivor Tree reminds us of our shared strength in the face of unimaginable tragedy. It was in that spirit the seedling program was formed.
Oso, Wash., Gulfport, Miss., and Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas were selected this year to receive Survivor Tree seedlings. The communities have committed to nurturing these trees to serve as landmarks symbolizing resiliency and hope.
"Although hundreds of trees are on the 9/11 Memorial, the Survivor Tree's story--from a stump in smoldering rubble to the beautiful, strong tree it is today--is undeniably one of resilience and determination," 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said. "We hope this tree serves as an inspiration to these communities and others who have suffered hardships and are working to recover."
The 9/11 Memorial launched the Survivor Tree seedling program on September 11, 2013, in partnership with Stamford, Conn.-based Bartlett Tree Expert Company and John Bowne High School in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens.
Stamford, Conn.-based Bartlett Tree Experts, which donated its resources to support the program, harvested seeds from the Survivor Tree in the fall of 2011. John Bowne High School cares for the seedlings as part of the school's agriculture curriculum. The seedlings going to the three communities this year are approximately 6 feet tall.
"This project provides a new generation the chance to memorialize 9/11 and be a part of its history. We feel so lucky to be part of that and for helping to supervise the care of the seedlings at John Bowne," said David McMaster, Vice President and Division Manager at Bartlett Tree Experts, which planted the Survivor Tree and groves of oak trees at the Memorial. "It's just been an amazing experience to watch these trees grow right alongside the young people caring for them."
Oso, Wash. was selected in memory of the 43 people killed in the March 22, 2014 mudslide in the small town, and in recognition of their resiliency. Fort Hood is receiving a small tree in honor of the 16 victims and survivors of the shootings on November 5, 2009, and April 2, 2014, and in acknowledgement of the continued sacrifice of the men and women who serve and their families. A seedling is also bound for Gulfport, Miss., to remember those who died in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
The inaugural towns for the program last year included Far Rockaways in Queens, which was torn and battered in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, and Prescott, Ariz., in honor of the 19 firefighting members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died on June 30, 2013. The fires in Arizona resulted in the highest number of American firefighters killed in a single incident since 9/11. Boston, Mass. also received a seedling in honor of the three people killed in the bombing at its marathon on April 15, 2013.