A 80 year old American Elm Tree in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, survived the bomb’s blast April 19, 1995 and witnessed one of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil. Today, we call it the Survivor Tree.
Before the bombing, the tree was important because it provided the only shade in the downtown parking lot. People would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the shade of the tree’s branches.
On April 19, 1995, the tree was almost chopped down to recover pieces of evidences that hung from its branches due to the force of the 4,000 pound bomb that killed 168 and injured hundreds just yards away. Evidence was retrieved from the branches and the trunk of the tree.
Tree farmer Steve Bieberich plants the Survivor Tree seeds at his arboretum SUNSHINE NURSERY Highway 183 North, Clinton, Oklahoma. The seeds were collected from the OKC National Memorial & Museum Facilities & Construction crew this spring, and he prepares them for the 2011 crop that is given away at each anniversary. He plants the seeds that will grow into the foot high seedlings that the Memorial distributes each spring under watchful care of Mark Bays, Urban Forester with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Steve grows them into the Survivor Tree sprouts and then he hand transplants them individually into the container they will grow in for the next year. Other seeds are sent to American Forest where they can be purchased online at www.historictrees.org all year long. Our thanks
to Steve and Mark for continuing this tradition for more than a decade!
The Survivor Tree is only one of hundreds of trees that Steve Bieberich painstakingly hand plants and grows at SUNSHINE NURSERY in Clinton, Oklahoma. It is an amazing place with trees, shrubs, bedding plants, garden plants, tools, and all kinds of accessories needed to maintain a beautiful landscape.