Oklahoma City's Survivor Tree, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Meet Oklahoma City's Survivor Tree
An American Elm that is approximately 90 years old. It is located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. It survived the bomb attack on the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. This boming was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil before September 11, 2001, the bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Before the bombing, the tree provided the only shade in the building’s parking lot. It is said that people would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the cooling shade of the tree’s branches. After the bombing, the tree was partially cut down to recover pieces of evidence embedded in it from the force of the devestating bomb. Investigators were successful in recovering evidence from the tree’s trunk and branches.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing. Hundreds of community citizens, surviving family members who lost loved ones, survivors, and rescue workers came together to write the mission statement for the memorial. It was decided the “one of the components of the Memorial must be the Survivor Tree located on the south half of the Journal Record Building block.” The Memorial design was unveiled in 1996 with prominence put on the remarkable elm. With this, the Survivor Tree has become a symbol of human resilience. Today, as a tribute to renewal and rebirth, the inscription around the tree reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."