In 2013 and 2017, I was blessed to visit the 9/11 Memorial in New York City — both incredibly moving experiences. One of the amazing stories to come out of the 9/11 tragedy is that of the Survivor Tree. A poem written by Faith A. Johnson describes it well:
The Survivor Tree
A miracle of botany, human spirit, and community,
In face of great adversity,
Back to life and breathing free,
It is known as the Survivor Tree.
Buried under twisted steel,
Determined branches hands could feel
Its blackened trunk, leaves no more,
And yet some life inside its core.
Where once its blossoms did embrace,
A Callery Pear showcased this place,
Where towers stood and life was loud,
A city and a country proud.
October day, the tree was found,
Amidst confusion, sadness sounds,
Came hopeful plans to nurse the tree,
Back to vibrant life, healthy.
And so it was that Callery Pear,
Moved to the Bronx, now home was there,
Cleaned of ash, cushioned in soil,
Human hands would gently toil.
To bring the tree back its life,
Overcoming hurts and strife,
Just as our country proving strong,
The tree grew tall, with branches long.
And next to it, a flag did fly,
Reminding all that dreams don’t die,
Our roots of freedom running deep,
Our nation’s strong, and memories keep.
Of loved ones lost, forever gone,
Yet, in our hearts, love carries on.
A Callery Pear, Survivor Tree,
Came back to where it used to be.
It reaches high into the sky,
And to the heavens leads our eyes,
Grow strong, our dear Survivor Tree,
For our America, Land of the Free.
Oftentimes, stories like this hit a heart string. We all have a survivor story. What have you overcome? Are you currently in the midst of a struggle or a change? Choose persistence, choose peace, choose strength, choose faith, hope, and love. You are a survivor and will come out thriving! Cultivate the seed that was placed in you until the last small twig has grown.
Bamboo lives underground for five years before it is seen by anyone. It spends five years cultivating a complicated weave of roots in the dirt, until it knows, without a doubt, it is strong enough to sustain the elements of the world. It knows it’s bamboo from the moment the seed plants in the earthly womb, yet is patient as it develops slowly and steadily. One day, when the preparation is complete, the bamboo sprouts — and swiftly shoots up in the air 82 feet! We are like bamboo — strong and resilient — rising beautifully in time.
Be inspired by a piece of my survivor story, The Door Knocker. ❤️
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~ Kahil Gibran