At the National September 11 Memorial among the grove of oak trees, there is one tree–a Callery Pear–that once stood on the original World Trade Center plaza. Found amidst the wreckage at Ground Zero, the Survivor Tree experienced extensive damage, but lived through the attack. After being rescued by recovery workers, the tree was nursed back to health by the NYC Parks Department. In the years following 9/11, the tree flourished, growing back its branches and leaves. Today, it stands testament to the power of renewal and resilience. Now, it is also the subject of a new animated video and an e-book available for free download on Apple iTunes–both developed pro bono by BBDO NY and narrated by actress Whoopi Goldberg.
On the 9/11 anniversary, we honor the lives of the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children who perished on September 11, 2001. We also remember how we came together in the days and months that followed. The Survivor Tree is a powerful reminder of our shared strength in the face of even the most unimaginable tragedy.
The video and e-book complement a program which began last year that is designed to share the Survivor Tree’s legacy of resilience through the distribution of seedlings from the tree. Communities across the country that are eligible for the program have had to been impacted by tragedy, whether a natural disaster or a senseless act of mass violence, occurring after September 11, 2001. The day after the anniversary, the 9/11 Memorial will announce new recipients of the seedlings.
Written as a children’s poem, “The Survivor Tree” conveys an important message of hope and healing with an audience of all ages. As our nation remembers and mourns the loss of too many innocent lives, sharing this simple story is one way we can take heart in the capacity of the enduring human spirit.