BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A small piece of life fought to stand the test of the 9/11 attacks and now, that once broken piece of history is thriving.
“It’ll make you cry,” said Allison Martin.
Martin visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in 2017, and she couldn’t help but pause at the Survivor Tree.
According to 9/11 Memorial and Museum “the Callery pear tree became known as the ‘Survivor Tree’ after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center.”
The pear tree was found at Ground Zero in October of 2001, damaged and burned, according to the museum. The organization says the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation restored the tree and returned it to the memorial in 2010.
Martin says the tree is a visible reminder of that tragic day as it still bears scars.
“If you have any kind of feeling in your heart or compassion for people for what we went through, it’s going to make you cry,” Martin said.
Martin walked away with a seed of hope for the City of Central after learning about the Survivor Tree program.
Non-profits with plans to honor 9/11 victims and churches can get a seedling from the pear tree to spread the message of resiliency, if approved. Martin quickly filled out an application.
”It took a while because I had to fight and get transferred. There would be months and I didn’t hear anything," she said.
After more than a year and a half of waiting, Martin was finally approved.
“When we got it, it was just a little bitty thing,” she said. “I freaked out. I was like, ‘I got it, I got it, I got it!’ And then I freaked out again, 'What do I do?’”
The hard part was over, and Martin knew exactly where its permanent home would be: her church, Hope Central, located on Frenchtown Road. Martin says that was the perfect location since her church focuses on restoration and renewal, just like the tree.
Since it was planted in March, it has grown several inches. That’s because it’s nurtured by Martin, so the message of hope continues.
“I’m proud of it. I’m so proud of this tree. I come to touch it every time I come by,” she said.
Through Martin's teachings, she’s hoping to inspire others that despite being knocked down, you've always got what it takes to stand tall and keep growing.
“It’s a testament to the strength,” Martin said. “A testament to hope. As long as there’s life, there’s hope and I love that feeling.”