• May 24, 2024

[Video] The Most Unlikely Survivor of 9/11 Returns To Ground Zero


The memory of 9/11 is indelibly etched into our minds forever, but few are aware of the most unlikeliest survivor of the 9/11 attacks.  It is also one of the most inspirational stories of the terrorist attack that shook a nation.  During the clean up of the rubble and debris of the twin towers, a smoldering pile mortar and concrete was the remains of a Callery pear tree.  It’s trunk was burned for 12 feet, the top of the tree was gone and only one branch remained alive.  The tree had been placed there in the 70s.

The tree was found by clean up workers, including Ron Vega.  Bram Gunther was called in, being the deputy director of central forestry for the New York Parks Department.  Gunther took one look at the tree and decided it was a lost cause, but workers convinced him to at least try to salvage it.  The tree was sent to the Parks Department in the Bronx.  The nursery manager, Richie Cabo said when he first saw the tree, he had no hope of reviving it.  But, he cut away the burned bark, trimmed it’s roots and planted it in rich and fertile soil and slowly but surely it began to make a comeback.

Then came the spring of 2010, when a brutal storm with sustained winds of up to 100 MPH, swept through the nursery and ripped the tree out of the ground and it laid on the ground like a fallen soldier that had fought bravely but in the end could go on no more.  Gunther was informed about the tragedy and he rushed right over, with his three young children.  They packed the damaged roots with compost.  They sprayed the tree to lessen the shock.

Eventually, they were able to stand the tree upright.  That in itself was a daunting task as the tree was now thirty feet tall, but using a boom truck, they were finally able to achieve their goal.  Six years after clean up worker, Ron Vega found the embattled tree, he found out that the tree had survived and even flourished.  He decided that the tree should be returned to it’s home as a symbol of hope.  Vega was in a position to see that happen as he was now in charge of the design of the 9/11 memorial.

The tree now stands in the shadows of the South Tower, a reminder to all that hope is never gone until after death.  The Callery pear is a native of China and Viet Nam, bur Survivor, as it has been named is truly American and a throwback to the Greatest Generation.  Battered and bruised, facing hardships that until then were unimaginable, both fought on, refusing to surrender until a hard fought victory was purchased through sacrifice perseverance.

Survivor is America.


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