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9/11 'Survivor Tree' to be Planted in Prescott to Honor Fallen Members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots

10 September 2014   Catherine Sebold
The original 'Survivor Tree' in NYC. Photo by Pumpkin Sky, from Wikipedia

9/11 “Survivor Tree” to be Planted in Prescott to Honor the Fallen Members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots

Prescott city officials will dedicate the 9/11 Survivor Tree during a ceremony at 9:30 am, September 11, 2014, at Firehouse Station 71, 333 White Spar Road, Prescott.

Prescott was one of six communities selected for the inaugural launch of a program based on the seedlings from the Survivor Tree by The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The museum sent seedlings from the tree to what it calls "resilient communities" that embody "the spirit of the Survivor Tree." Prescott was selected in honor of the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting squad that lost 19 men on June 30, 2013.

On September 11, 2001, one tree, a Bradford Pear, survived the World Trade Center attacks. Barely alive, it endured following years of off-site intensive care and rehabilitation by The New York Parks Department. Home again at the World Trade Center, The Survivor Tree now thrives, and is a national symbol of hope and resiliency.

“The men and women of the City of Prescott Fire Department are humbled and honored to serve as one of the six inaugural cities to plant a survivor tree to memorialize those who perished in New York City on September 11, 2001,” said Prescott Fire Chief Dennis Light. “All will remember where they were that day, and this is a pointed reminder of tragedy while understanding the resilience of this fine country.”

Each year on September 12, the 9/11 Memorial donates a Survivor Tree Seedling to a community that has overcome tragedy. According to the Memorial, “These communities represent the spirit of the Survivor Tree and their tree will serve as an inspirational landmark conveying resiliency and hope within the community, just as the Survivor Tree does at the 9/11 Memorial.”

Other inaugural cities include Boston, in honor of the victims of the April 2013 marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260; the Far Rockaways in New York City, which were devastated by Superstorm Sandy in October, 2012; Oso, Washington, in memory of the 43 people killed in the March 22, 2014, mudslide and in ongoing recovery from this tragedy; Killeen, Texas, in honor of the 16 victims and the survivors of the shootings on Fort Hood of November 5, 2009 and April 2, 2014, and in acknowledgement of the continued sacrifice of the men and women, who serve, and the families of Fort Hood; and Gulfport, Mississippi, to remember those who died in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and to recognize the spirit of a community that endured one of the single most catastrophic natural disasters in U.S. history.

According to the Memorial, when the pear tree was found, “it was severely burnt with its limbs reduced to stumps and its bark charred. Amazingly, however, leaves still sprouted and this tree’s perseverance gave the recovery workers hope. The tree was replanted on Veteran’s Day in 2001 and watched over with great care. The Survivor Tree quietly, but remarkably, grew from eight to 30 feet. New bark, leaves, and branches sprouted from the tree’s scars, an inspiring symbol of survival, renewal, and strength after 9/11.”