Survivor Trees: Oklahoma’s Survivor Tree

June 18, 2009 at 5:30 am 3 comments

By craig
Calling All Survivor Tree Links!
This blog is hosting the Festival of the Trees on July 1st. Please submit any related posts, articles or photos about resilient, determined or inspirational trees!

In 1995, a truck bomb went off in Oklahoma City, tearing through the Murrah Federal Building. 168 people were killed, 800 more were injured. And in the parking lot, stood another victim– an American Elm tree.

Survivor Tree, 1995 (Photo by NASA’s Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team)

The tree weathered the nearby blast of a 4,000 pound bomb. It also made it through the investigation– It was nearly cut down so that evidence could be retrieved from its branches and trunks. It was spared and quickly the tree became a symbol of strength and resilience.

The fact that the tree survived the bomb blast that killed so many transformed it from a mere tree to a talisman for the comfort of all who survived.

It seems to proclaim to all who enter the hallowed site and will pause a moment to listen that the senseless act of destruction perpetrated by the few will not be the final word. The very fibers of its bole seem to radiate hope for the future just as a lighthouse sends its light into the dark night.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, May 16, 2000

Today the tree is known as the Survivor Tree and is a key part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. A sign at the base of the tree reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

Survivor Tree, 2008 (Photo by amacemon)

Derivatives of the Survivor Tree have spread. A clone of the Survivor Tree stands in Rose State College, which lost 17 of its graduates in the attack. Survivor Tree seedlings are also available for purchase from the American Forest’s Historic Tree program. When the Survivor Tree’s time does finally come, its genes and its spirit will surely continue on.

Entry filed under: Survivor Tree, trees.

Heart in… Carabiner Helping the Survivor Tree Survive

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Survivor Trees: Bahrain’s Tree of Life « TGAW  |  June 23, 2009 at 6:26 am

    […] the Survivor Tree series has highlighted trees that recovered from bombings– Hiroshima and Oklahoma City. But a tree does not have to survive man-made tragedies to be impressive. It could just merely […]

  • 2. survivor tree in oklahoma city  |  May 19, 2011 at 4:26 am

    […] Survivor Trees: Oklahoma's Survivor Tree В« TGAW Jun 18, 2009 … Today the tree is known as the Survivor Tree and is a key part of the Oklahoma City National … […]

  • 3. Tyler A  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Not to mention the age of the tree… it’s actually outlived the normal lifespan for this type of Elm as well.


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