The Survivor Tree - My Family Travels

This was the vacation to end all vacations, New York City. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before we went, and she went through chemotherapy during the summer. Resulting in a boring, uneventful summer. This year our family decided to go all out and go to New York. The place that we visited that affected me the most was the 9/11 memorial.

It was hot, beyond what any normal human being should have to endure. Even with the humid heat there was a silence, almost a peace that everyone shared on this sacred ground. The sounds of the waterfalls, the footprints of the twin towers, were calming, even inspiring. I was moving from one waterfall to the other when I spotted a tree that looked slightly different than the others. Everyone was gathering around this one, and I wondered, why is that tree so special?

I hadn’t read the booklet I was given when I entered the memorial, obviously. My mom turned to me and said, “It’s the Survivor Tree.” I looked on the tree and saw a butterfly; it was magnificent. Not because of the colors, but because it was camouflaged, making it practically match the tree. I snapped a picture, knowing that even those who visited this tree after I did wouldn’t be able to witness this stunning butterfly.

I found out later that the reason the tree was given its name was because it was the only tree that survived the events of September 11th. It had lost all of its limbs in the process, but still survived. It was moved to another place to give it the opportunity to grow. Later there was a windstorm that pulled the tree right out of the ground, and it still endured. I think everyone has something to learn from that tree and the butterfly. Even though we seem to blend in with everyone else, there is something special about us that makes us different. Not even if you are just a beat-up tree next to a ghost building, or a butterfly on an unimpressive tree. Everything has its importance, but sometimes only others can see it.

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