A Callery pear tree became known as the “Survivor Tree” after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.
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.
In 2013, St. Francis de Sales Parish was given a seedling due to the community being affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The seedling is planted outside St. Francis de Sales Church in honor of all those Rockaway residents who lives were lost on September 11th 2001.