Ground Zero – A tree that grew in Brooklyn

Next year, September 11, 2011 will be the 10 year anniversary at Ground Zero and a tree that grew in Brooklyn. Along with many others I was listening to many newscasts on September 11 as the news anchors and nearly all the programming reviewed some of the heartfelt stories of survivors and those who didn’t survive that fateful day. The pundits discussed what effects this national game changer had on the consciousness of the average American, how it altered our country and those in it. The tragedy of the day was put through nearly every kind of filter one can imagine.

A lessor known piece caught my attention. There was a Pear tree planted close to the Twin Towers in an outdoor concourse. Burning debris,everywhere that day reduced this tree, to a charred shadow just as it did the lives in the those buildings. This carnage of this tree was hauled to Arthur Ross Nursery and planted on Veteran’s Day, it’s prognosis grim. Nursery workers, wishing to provide it with the best start possible of rich soil, trimmed limbs,tender care and fertilizer rallied to breath new life into the wrecked remains. Today, much like the families and the nation, this tree bears its scars but it, in true New York fashion, would not simply lay down and die. All 35’of this callery pear tree will, the Lord willing, be transplanted in its leafy, green splendour to serve as the anchor to a glade of trees near the memorial’s heart- two 30 foot waterfalls shooting over the original footprints of the twin towers. It is bowed but not bloodied and though not perfect stands tall as a monument to faith, tenacity and sheer survival.

Though it has been 9 years, the unfolding of that day will stand in crystalline memory very similar in nature to my day in the 5th grade one cool New York afternoon in November when my classmates and the nation heard of the shooting and subsequent death of John Kennedy. Anyone alive that day will always remember the events and where they were as they unfolded.

The morning of September 11, 2001 I was preparing breakfast. It was early yet and the guests had not come down when the phone rang. It was my child and as all Mother’s know it was evident when I heard her voice something was horribly wrong as she said, “Do you have the television on?” I replied that I was in the middle of fixing breakfast for the guests so of course I didn’t. She said, “Mom, you are going to need to turn it on.” I went into an unbooked downstairs room and turned it on and within moments, the second plane hit. My daughter and I silently viewed the unthinkable no words passing between us, both of us crying and in understanding that terror had finally come to the United States of America.

Soon after that, our guests came down. We began to tell them what happened. As fate would have it, one of them was from Isreal. While all our U.S. guests were stunned, she, having experienced this as a daily reality in her own homeland had a different tack. She acknowledged the shock, horror and sorrow we were all feeling while taking hold of and voicing to the other guests the fact that our country and citizenry is strong and after a time we would come to a place of wisdom, resilience,solidarity, survival and resolve. She was right.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

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