Survivor Trees Offer Hope

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By Jasmine Willis

The idea came to me after watching a great film a few years back, and in it they spoke of the Oklahoma City Survivor Tree.
According to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum website this tree is an American Elm, which stood firm during one of the worst attacks America has ever seen. It states this tree once provided shade in the downtown parking lot, and now it means much more. Folks all over journey to see this tree, and be reminded that even in the worst of times something beautiful survives.
We did the same with the National September 11 Memorial, to honor the survival of another tree.
Recently I was part of a historical dedication to yet another elm tree that survived the course of four centuries before being struck down.
The historian said this and a 600 -year -old black walnut tree were his favorite trees in the world. He noted they are like humans.
I can agree with this concept.
Aren’t we all survivor trees? When I travel along the roadways I look for those trees, the ones that stand alone in a field or near a structure. I think of how many storms tried to knock them down and how much the tree has seen.
I think we all should take time to appreciate survivor trees, and to allow them to inspire us to enjoy the freedom so many have sacrificed for.
America is filled with survivor trees, and maybe one day we will realize that we as human beings are capable of showing just as much strength and courage as these keepers of time.
My hope is you never look at a tree again and think it is just a tree, but to embrace what poets, authors, film makers, and historians have for years. Trees are something we use for shelter, and something we climb. After all it was Robert Frost who once wrote about his carefree youth, saying one could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

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