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9/11 Survivor Tree Dedicated at Delbarton School
Jessica Fiddes

On September 14, Delbarton's 9/11 Survivor Tree was dedicated in the Senior Garden thanks to the efforts of the Class of 2016.

A Callery pear tree is known as the "Survivor Tree" after enduring the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Discovered at Ground Zero one month later, the tree was severely damaged, with snapped roots and singed and broken branches. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation oversaw the tree's recovery and rehabilitation, and replanted the tree at the Memorial in 2010. Today, new smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stump, creating a visible demarcation between the past and present. The Survivor Tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.

In 2016, the Delbarton senior class, inspired by the School motto Succisa Virescit, 'cut down, it grows back stronger', learned of the opportunity to procure a Survivor Tree seedling, and navigated the application process to obtain one for Delbarton. Launched in September, 2013, the Survivor Tree seedling program operates in partnership with Bartlett Tree Experts, of Stamford, Conn. Planted during the 2017-18 school year, our young tree has received expert care from Robert Lindsley, an arborist representative from the Denville office of Bartlett Tree Experts. A small brass commemorative plaque will soon be added at the tree's base.

On September 14, Headmaster Fr. Michael Tidd, OSB, surrounded by Delbarton students, dedicated Delbarton's Survivor Tree with these words: "The Psalmist says, "Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy" (Psalm 96:12). The Bible starts and finishes with trees, from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem planted with trees that bear fruit every month. At the center of our Christian faith, Jesus died on a wooden cross, the carpenter crucified on a broken tree, which has become for us the Tree of Life. As we gather to bless this 9-11 Survivor Tree seedling, a gift of the Class of 2016, on this the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we are reminded that life and light overcomes death and darkness, that good triumphs over evil, and that God is near to the brokenhearted and lifts up the lowly."

After requesting a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11, he recited the Prayer of Blessing,

"Lord of heaven and earth, We ask you to bless this 9-11 Survivor Tree Seedling.

May it stand as a reminder of those who were lost,

But also of your love, made manifest on the cross,

And your promise of New Life and Resurrection.

We ask this that yours may be the glory,

and ours the peace. Amen."

We thank all who attended today's dedication ceremony, and honor the memory of all those people who lost their lives on 9/11, and the families and friends they left behind who continue to mourn them.