It's been called a "miracle tree" and the "last living thing rescued from the ruins of 9/11." This is the incredible story of how a simple pear tree quietly became a sign of hope and regrowth after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Filmmakers are working on a documentary about the "9/11 Survivor Tree" that lived through a direct assault and is back at the World Trade Center memorial plaza as a living reminder of resiliency.
"All of the upper branches on this tree were shattered and torn after" after the World Trade Center towers collapsed, explains Robert Zappala, who managed New York City's nursery. "This entire tree was no taller than 8 feet when we got it. It was what we would consider mortally wounded."
In stepped the patient, loving care of city parks workers who nursed the callery pear tree back to health in the Bronx. The tree still bears the scars of 9/11 but has shown an amazing capacity to grow and bloom from its trauma.
"This pear tree represents to me not only an ability of an organism to regrow and thrive, it also represents our great city of New Yorkers," Zappala says. "Yes, we will take a hit but we're a survivor city."
The 9/11 Survivor Tree finally returned to Lower Manhattan nearly a decade after the attacks. Now it stands in the memorial plaza, blooming every spring, a quiet, but constant emblem of what the callery pear survived.
"In many more ways than one, this tree has come home," Richie Cabo says.
Of all of the stories on 9/11, what happened to the trees that used to ring the World Trade Center plaza hasn't been told yet. "The Trees" filmmakers are raising funds to complete the full documentary about bringing life back to ground zero.