A couple years ago, my aunt and uncle took Kayla and I to visit New York City for the first time. It was a present for our 21st birthday. We shopped around Times Square, saw a show off broadway, hopped on a bus to tour the city, and took a ferry ride to take a closer look at The Statue of Liberty. But the most awe dropping moment of the entire trip was the visit to the Memorial Museum.

I was only 9 when those planes hit the Twin Towers. Mrs. Winsper's fourth grade class was about ready to start at DeMello Elementary. Just before 9 am, she got the phone call. Everyone's lives changed in that moment. I was just a child who vaguely understood what terror took place that day. At 21, I witnessed the loss memorialized in both the North and South Pools. Where two majestic structures once proudly stood in Manhattan, there were now dark reflecting pools listing the names of souls lost on that September Day.

South Pool at Ground Zero
South Pool at Ground Zero

One of the most humbling experiences was seeing the Survivor Tree. This was something I knew nothing about before this trip. This pear tree endured the attacks at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A month later, it's snapped roots, burned and broken branches, and damaged frame were discovered in the rubble. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation removed the tree from the area and allowed it to recover under their care. The tree was returned to its home at the Memorial 5 years ago.

The tree's original structure went through hell, but it still grew smooth new limbs that are sturdy and strong. The "Survivor Tree" stands as a "living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth." it now stands 30 feet tall.

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