The National September 11 Memorial and Museum announced which communities are receiving its annual gift of a seedling from the so-called Survivor Tree: Waukesha, Wisconsin; Uvalde, Texas; and Little Rock, Arkansas.
The seedlings, which come from the tree that stands at the 9/11 Memorial site, are gifted annually as a symbol of hope to recovering communities.
Courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
This year’s three recipients of the Survivor Tree seedlings include:
- Waukesha: In remembrance of the six people killed and 62 injured when an SUV intentionally plowed into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Nov. 2022
- The Uvalde Memorial Hospital: To honor the heroic role they played in response to the mass shooting that occurred on May 24, 2022
- Little Rock: After withstanding widespread and major tornado outbreaks in March 2023 that killed five people and injured dozens
What is the Survivor Tree?
The "Survivor Tree" is the adopted name of a Callery pear tree that stands at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
The tree was discovered in the wreckage at Ground Zero, weeks later in October 2001. It was severely damaged, with snapped roots and branches that were burned and broken.
The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
It was nursed back to health for years, before being returned to its location in 2010.
Workers look on at a ceremonial planting of the so-called "Survivor Tree" at the 9/11 Memorial area of the World Trade Center site December 22, 2010 in New York City. The Callery pear tree was originally planted in the 1970s at the World Trade Center
It has since been dubbed as the "Survivor Tree," standing as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth, as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum says.
Memorial plaza in autumn in New York on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Photo by Jin Lee. Courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Survivor Tree seedling program
The seedling program is now in its 10th year.
Each year, seedlings from the tree are gifted to three communities recovering and rebuilding after catastrophes as a symbol of hope and strength.
"As the seedlings grow in their new homes, they stand as reminders of perseverance just as the original Survivor Tree does on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza in New York City," the museum said.
NYC parks department and Bartlett Tree experts help a survivor tree seedling at the September 11 Memorial Square in Asser Levy Park, Coney Island in New York Wednesday on April 29, 2015. Photo by Jin Lee. Courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
This year, recipients were all local to the United States, but seedlings have also been sent around the globe.
Some past international recipients include Ukraine, in memorial of the casualties from the ongoing war with Russia; the World Health Organization, for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and Haiti after the Hurricane Matthew devastation in 2016.
The museum’s president and CEO, Elizabeth L. Hillman says they hope the seedlings "provide the same sense of renewal in these communities as they seek to rebuild after horrific events."
This story was reported from Detroit.