The Survival Tree

One of my friends, P, wrote this a while ago and wanted me to share it with you. From P to me,to you 🙂


On a recent trip to the USA this year,I decided to be a little adventurous and savour for myself a bite of the Big Apple. After reaching the slightly intimidating, chaotic and yet endearing New York City and resting off my fatigue, I decided to make a list of all the places that I wanted to visit. Topping my ambitious list of various attractions that I wanted to vet my sense with all the places that I wanted my memories to hold forever was the World Trade Center Memorial.

The memorial built on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11,2001 was definitely a slightly off beat choice for a tourist-bt considering my profile as a law student who is interested in humanitarian law and my general penchant towards such crisis like situations which anyone who is even so much as remotely known to me can testify to,the WTC Memorial was a perfect choice for a first destination.

So a walk from the youth hostel through the coveted Wall Street took me to my first stop of interest.

Once there, after a long walk in the sultry heat and an arduous queue later,I made mt way into a sprawling complex that consists of two pools set exactly at the place where the Twin Towers once stood tall .These pools are flanked by two magnificent waterfalls-believably the highest in the continent that cascade into the pools .The boundary walls of these pools bear the inscriptions of the names of the victims. It is said that special care was taken to honour the requests from the victims’ families if they wanted certain names to be placed adjacent to one another –a proof of the meticulous attention that was paid to building this yet to be completed memorial.

The blue print of this memorial includes a plan of planting more than 400 White Oak trees carefully selected from nurseries within a 500-mile radius of the three sites that were privy to the tragic turn of events.

The only exception to this 400-strong orchard of Silver oaks is the solitary Callery Pear tree fondly called the ‘survivor tree’. The tree was planted in the original World Trade Center Plaza in the 1970s and stood tall until the 9/11 attacks when it was severely damaged. It was discovered by the rescue workers in the rubble at Ground Zero.

I think in any other part of the world, the tree would have been long discarded and considered dead weight, but true to their ‘never say die’ spirit, the Yankees nursed it back to health in a city park where it grew to be 30 feet tall and even sprouted new branches and flowers.

Unfortunately,this intermittent period of prosperity was not to last very long and was uprooted again by a severe storm in March 2010,but true to its name,it once again defied its death and survived!

It was brought back to the WTC Memorial site in December 2010 the point where it stands supported by suspended guide wires proudly ,embodying the true meaning of the phrases ‘Optimism’ and ‘Never Say Die’ but the most important underlying message that the survivor tree gave out to my mind was that: if one resolves to survive,luck will favour you ,things will happen your way and help will arrive-just so long as one decides to stick it out and survive!


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