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'Living memorial' to 9/11 planted in Spa City

'Living memorial' to 9/11 planted in Spa City

Survivor trees are donated to cities that have survived tragedy, erected Sept. 11 memorials
'Living memorial' to 9/11 planted in Spa City
Saratoga Springs Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco speaks Tuesday at High Rock Park about the "Survivor Tree."
Photographer: Ned Campbell

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new and growing memorial now stands within view of a twisted steel spire in High Rock Park that honors the memory of the lives lost on 9/11.

Grown from a seedling of a Callery pear tree that survived the collapse of the Twin Towers, the 7-foot-tall sapling was planted Monday as a “living memorial," Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said Tuesday.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people, including 400 police officers and firefighters. The tree, which is expected grow to about 20 feet, stands next to the 24-foot Tempered By Memory 9/11 memorial, comprised of steel beams from the World Trade Center. 

“Words cannot describe what actually happened down there, but to have something from that site that’s actually living, I think, really shows the resilience of the American people,” Scirocco said.

The tree was the 345th of its kind distributed by the Survivor Tree program, which was founded in 2013 by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum organization through a partnership with Connecticut-based Bartlett Tree Expert Company and John Browne High School of Queens. The high school’s agricultural department oversees the program.

Scirocco said the organization contacted Saratoga Springs officials with an offer to donate the tree. Trees are given to communities around the world that are affected by tragedies and also those, like Saratoga Springs, that have created 9/11 memorials, he said. Other places to receive trees have included San Bernadino, California; Orlando, Florida; Newtown, Connecticut, and the nation of France, according to www.911memorial.org.

The tree in Spa City is flanked by a low-standing sign, which describes how it was grown from Ground Zero’s last-standing Callery pear tree and includes the number 345. 

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“The collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 nearly destroyed the original tree, but it was salvaged and nursed back to health,” the sign reads. “The Survivor Tree stands as a living memorial to the victims of 9/11, their families, communities and the nation.”

In accepting the tree, the city agreed to keep it on city property for the duration of its life, Scirocco said. It will be maintained by the city arborist.

“It’s doing really well,” he said. “We’re really nurturing it and making sure it does well. We water it every day.” 

The tree will be part of the city’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony, set for 8:30 a.m Monday at High Rock Park.

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