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Jeff Real | all galleries >> Oklahoma City: The Memorial > The Survivor Tree
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The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree

An American elm on the north side of the Memorial, this tree was the only shade tree in the parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building, and commuters came in to work early to get one of the shady parking spots provided by its branches. Photos of Oklahoma City taken around the time of statehood (1907) show this tree, meaning it is currently at least 102 years old. Despite its age, the tree was neglected and taken for granted prior to the blast. Heavily damaged by the bomb, the Tree ultimately survived after nearly being chopped down during the initial investigation, in order to recover evidence hanging in its branches and embedded in its bark.

The force of the blast ripped most of the branches from the Survivor Tree, glass and debris were embedded in its trunk and fire from the cars parked beneath it blackened what was left of the tree. Most thought the tree could not survive. However, almost a year after the bombing, family members, survivors and rescue workers gathered for a memorial ceremony under the tree noticed it was beginning to bloom again.

Hundreds of seeds from the Survivor Tree are planted annually and the resulting saplings are distributed each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Thousands of Survivor Trees are growing today in public and private places all over the United States; saplings were sent to Columbine High School after the massacre there, to New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and various other times.


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bill friedlander05-Aug-2012 18:18
Japanese scroll art! Great composition and tones. V
Photomary21-Dec-2009 15:08
And, it has survived beautifully - wonderful presentation. v
Leslie Cohelan27-Nov-2009 16:09
well taken and edited...nice work on this image
Norman Richard08-Nov-2009 23:52
Just listened to the film elizabeth town, they have a scene about that tree. Part of the film is a tourist advertisement disguised within the plot, and this tree is in there.
Sue Robertson05-Nov-2009 23:34
This really is an amazing tale...
Keith Goldstein04-Nov-2009 19:10
Excellent! ~v~
Kaden Kratzer29-Oct-2009 04:08
Excellent. V
Norman Richard29-Oct-2009 01:21
Looks like a winter scene, Life always seems to survive the suffering generated by the madness of some men.
Jean Chiasson29-Oct-2009 00:11
fabulous effect great composition jreal vote
Marcia Colelli28-Oct-2009 23:48
Lovely image and nice treatment. Very strong and durable tree V
Marie-Claude Decelles28-Oct-2009 20:10
J'adore ces N&B au fort contrastes comme celui-ci! C'est puissant et décoiffant! la scène magique et touchante en est ainsi renforcée! Gros Bravo!V!
CM Kwan28-Oct-2009 13:28
Love your picture and enjoy reading the information your provided, Jeff! V
Marcia Rules28-Oct-2009 13:05
this speaks of hope..quite emotive Jeff..V
John28-Oct-2009 11:38
A remarkable tree story. Surviving a blast like this I reckon it will survive at least another 102 years. Great story and image. V
Steve Morris28-Oct-2009 10:09
Fantastic story and the photo is a great tribute to this stubborn survivor!BV
marie-jose wolff28-Oct-2009 09:42
awesome tree, the symbol of hope...V
Nick Arena28-Oct-2009 08:52
Awesome tree..fabulous effect used here..v
Sam_C28-Oct-2009 06:02
Powerful and symbolic! BV
Nora van Beek28-Oct-2009 00:21
A true symbol of hope and survival in the face of adversity. Powerful story and image! ~V~
Nora van Beek28-Oct-2009 00:21
A true symbol of hope and survival in the face of adversity. Powerful story and image! ~V~
an nguyen27-Oct-2009 23:37
A touching story telling image.
Mairéad27-Oct-2009 22:50
A powerful testament to the tenacity of life. V
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