Fort Hood officials plant 9/11 Survivor Tree seedling on post

Rose L. Thayer Killeen Daily Herald

With families of the fallen standing by, Fort Hood officials today planted the seedling of a tree that survived the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

Fort Hood officials plant a seedling from the 9/11 Survivor Tree at Fort Hood's Memorial Park.

Fort Hood officials plant a seedling from the 9/11 Survivor Tree at Fort Hood’s Memorial Park.

The spring after the 2001 attack in New York City, leaves began growing on the branch of a tree sticking up from the rubble of Ground Zero, said Patrick Brewer, an arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts, the company tasked keeping the tree alive once it was removed from the site. Since 2013, the 9/11 Memorial has donated three seedlings from what became known as the “Survivor Tree” to communities that have endured tragedy. Fort Hood was selected in 2014, alongside Oso, Wash., and Gulfport, Miss.

“Those of us in uniform … you know more than anybody, the effect 9/11 had on all of us,” said Col. Matt Elledge, garrison commander, during the planting ceremony this morning in Fort Hood’s Memorial Park.

Since then, Fort Hood has seen countless soldiers deploy and return with visible and invisible wounds of war, as well as faced tragedy at home on Nov. 5, 2009, and April 2, 2014. Fort Hood received the tree not only because of its past, “but its resilience since 9/11,” Elledge said.

Naomi Roupe, a military widow, said the Callery pear tree’s resilience represents her own journey since losing her spouse in 2012.

“Like the branches found at Ground Zero, it didn’t die off, it wanted to spread more branches and grow,” she said. “This means a lot to see that sprout new leaves and branches.”

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