Planting a Hope

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom

On April 15, 1995, terrorists attacked the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The structure was destroyed and 168 people killed, many of them young children.

Against all odds, an ancient elm tree growing near the building survived the blast. After the horror and wreckage was cleared away, fragile new growth emerged from its blackened, wounded branches. Those affected by the attack called it the Survivor Tree and it quickly became seen as a symbol of hope and resilience. Seeds from the tree were carefully gathered and planted; representatives from Oklahoma City brought one of the resulting trees to New York City.

Today, speakers representing several faiths gathered near City Hall and described what the tree meant within their own traditions and beliefs. Then they — and survivors of the attacks on the Murrah Building and the World Trade Center — gently placed shovels full of earth around the young tree meant to symbolize healing and unity.

The sapling from the Survivor Tree joins five trees, already moved to this spot, that lived through the attack on the World Trade Center. These six trees, survivors all, form a living memorial grove, a small pocket of faith and hope, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.


Ven. C. Chen, American Buddhist Confederation Posted by Picasa


Rev. Julie Taylor, Disaster Chaplaincy Services Posted by Picasa


Rabinder Singh, United Sikhs Posted by Picasa


Mohammad Ravzi, Council of Peoples Organization Posted by Picasa


Rabbi Craig Miller, Jewish Community Relations Council Posted by Picasa


Victoria Ramsey, Union Theological Seminary Posted by Picasa


Antonio Mondesire, Awo Ifa Olo-Obatala Posted by Picasa


The littlest tree planter Posted by Picasa


Akiva & Co. playing Posted by Picasa

  • Oklahoma City National Memorial: Survivor Tree
  • WTC Survivors Network
  • American Buddhist Study Center
  • United Sikhs
  • Disaster Chaplaincy Services
  • Union Theological Seminary
  • Lucy Larcom
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