First Trees Planted At 9/11 Memorial Site

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — After years, life returned to Ground Zero in a very visible day Saturday.

Amid the concrete, steel and stone came a splash of crisp green as the first trees were planted at the 9/11 Memorial, reports CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

“My God, there’s nothing but joy right now, and that’s not easy on this site,” said Ron Vega, Director of Design of the 9/11 Memorial. “I mean this is a site that is full of sorrow and yet here we are in the midst of life.”

Site workers painstakingly planted the first 16 trees in the 9/11 Memorial Garden and said, like everything there, the familiar work took on a special reverence.

“These are the most intensively-cared for trees, I would say, in the history of the planet,” said Tom Cox of Environmental Design.

“It’s an emotional project, so to see these trees starting to soar to the sky on a day that’s not dissimilar to the way September 11th was, it’s just a beautiful reminder that this is going to be a place a sacred place where people are going to really come and come together,” said Joe Daniels, 9/11 Memorial President.

When completed, there will be 400 White Oaks at the site. They stood 30-feet but will reach heights of up to 80-feet when fully grown.

Their branches stretch to form a canopy over a park and they will surround two reflecting pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers.

The 9/11 Memorial Committee called the trees a tangible step toward progress.

“This memorial will open on time for next year’s tenth anniversary,” said Bill Baroni, Deputy Executive Dir. of the Port Authority. It is a cause that every one of these hard hats, every one of our construction workers, everyone at Port Authority, everyone at the Foundation is committed to.”

The trees were all brought in from New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. to symbolize the areas directly impacted on 9/11.

“Trees are about life. Trees are about renewal. You know when you plant a tree in someone’s name, it’s a moment of reflection and respect and here we are,” Vega said.

The soil that holds the souls of so many now bears hope and promise for the future.


One Comment

  1. CW Glaeser says:

    Do not be too keen yet on the future of these 400 oak trees, the promised brand spanking new urban forest and an everlasting 911 memorial. For Director of Design Ron Vega to have even considered installing oak trees out of season, in full foliage rather when dormant, in the brutal heat of summer is the most un-arboricultural of tree installation practices. With that, Mr. Vega is clearly a novice and likely made this decision in a vacuum without consultations from seasoned independent arborist(s). It is time tested that oak trees are a fall planting hazard. That is they perform very poorly on the loss of 95% of their tree roots caused by transplanting. Worse, the larger the tree caliper the greater the transplant stress. Oaks instead prefer to be installed in the spring. Apparently Mr. Vega is willing to front the cost for a continuous neverending tree replacement program.

  2. arnie says:

    Thought this would be of interest to readers.

    Since September 2001 I have maintained the “9/11 list-serv” which distributes daily e-mails containing newspaper articles and other relevant information re: 9/11 issues of interest to 9/11 families, 9/11 organizations and interested individuals.

    The 9/11 List-serv archives can be accessed at

    If you would like to ‘subscribe’ to this free news service – send an e-mail to with the word “subscribe” in the subject box.


  3. Thuy-Linh Pollack says:

    The events of 9/11 can never be forgotten. I must commend the 9/11 Memorial Commission for selecting a thoughtful and heart-felt memorial plan.

    The park of will serve as a living memorial of the lives lost. As the newly planted trees grow and thrive, they will mirror our Nation’s struggle to heal and move forward. The twin pool of water will serve as a silent reminder of the lives lost and sacrifices made. Of the heroes forged and lost within the time span of a few days.

    I can never and will never forget or forgive the persons responsible for this tragic event. 9/11 to this day, serves as a reminder to me why I proudly serve my country.

    And I will make sure my children will never forget as well.

    1. Carrie Tate says:

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving our country, God bless you!!

  4. andrew says:

    we plant trees and remember a horrifying event …then we go about our daily live committing the most egregious acts toward each other.What have we as a nation really learned?

  5. Kanopy says:

    I’m glad they opted for a park instead of a cold hearted office building. New York City urgently needs more parks! I’d love to see the tress someday if I ever visit that city.

  6. Gean Johnson says:

    We will be in New York City next week, and I cannot wait to visit this site to see the trees. This will be an everlasting memorial.

Comments are closed.

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