A very special tree will be planted in Manorhaven in celebration of Arbor Day. The tree, a Callery pear, is the direct descendant of the only tree left standing at ground zero after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The ceremony, which will honor the victims and survivors of the devastation, will take place on Saturday, April 25, at 10 a.m, at the trailhead of the end of the parking lot for the Manorhaven Preserve. The preserve is located off Manorhaven Boulevard between the Senior Center and the parking lot for the Manorhaven Pool.
After the WTC buildings collapsed, every tree but one was destroyed. The lone survivor, which was badly burned, was dug out of the rubble. Essentially a stump, it had only one leaf. The NYC Parks Department rescued it and transported it to Van Cortlandt Park. The little tree was nursed back to health. In 2010, it was taken to the 9/11 Memorial Park, the only tree there that is not an oak.
Seeds were collected from the original tree, and seedlings were generated. It is one of these offspring, a Callery pear, that will be planted in Manorhaven. This tree was made available to the village by Bartlett Tree Experts, which had the responsibility of caring for the WTC tree and its offspring. The tree is about 3 to 4 feet tall and could grow as high as 30 to 35 feet.
In a video created by BBDO Worldwide and Omnicon Group, Whoopi Goldberg narrates the story in the voice of the survivor tree. It says, in part, “You can see in my trunk where I go light from dark, where my limbs were reborn, where I grew brand-new bark. My blossoms remind us how strong we all are…With the power of hope … there’s nothing so bad that we can’t overcome it.”
The acquisition of the tree was thanks to the initiative of Henry Young, a licensed tree expert. Manorhaven Trustee Priscilla von Roeschlaub, chair of the Manorhaven Villege Tree Committee, said, “It is not about death. It’s about birth, about going on about being able to flower again.”
Young echoed those sentiments, saying, “We have all kinds of monuments to people who died, but this is a monument to something that survived. It is a recognition to those who survived and who had to pick up the pieces and move on.”
The public is invited to the ceremony, which will include the Brownies planting seedlings and reciting Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees.”