World Trade Center seedlings go to France, San Bernardino, Orlando

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World Trade Center seedlings go to France, San Bernardino, Orlando
The survivor tree, a Callery pear, was discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center in October 2001.

NEW YORK (AFP).- Seedlings from the only tree to survive the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001 will be given to two US communities and France, each the target of recent attacks.

San Bernardino, the California city where a couple gunned down 14 people last December and Orlando, Florida where a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub earlier this year, will be offered "Survivor Tree" seedlings, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will officially accept a sapling in New York over the weekend on behalf of France, the consulate here announced Wednesday.

France has seen multiple recent assaults, from a rampage by IS gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed 130 people in November to a grisly truck attack on a crowd in Nice in July that left 86 dead.

"After 9/11, the Survivor Tree became a symbol of our country's fortitude and resilience," 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said in a statement released Monday.

"As the trees grow and thrive, we hope they will inspire the people of France, Orlando and San Bernardino as they continue to recover and heal," he said.

The survivor tree, a Callery pear, was discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center in October 2001, during operations to clear the site. It has since been nursed back to health and replanted at the 9/11 Memorial.

Since 2013, the memorial has donated seedlings each year to three locations that have been struck by attacks, shootings or natural disasters.

Although most have been US cities, Madrid received a seedling to commemorate the 191 victims of a March 2004 attack by Islamist extremists who bombed packed commuter trains.

"The communities have committed to nurturing these trees to serve as landmarks symbolizing resiliency and hope," the 9/11 Memorial said.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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