This story was originally published on September 11, 2014.

Today, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, New York-based ad agency BBDO Worldwide released a short commemorative film featuring a little-known tree found at the World Trade Center site. As a way of highlighting the resilient nature of the city in the aftermath of the tragedy, the new two-minute film illustrates the inspirational story of the “survivor tree,” which somehow made it through the destruction to flourish once again. See the video after the jump.


During the recovery process after the attacks, workers found a badly burned Callery pear tree with one single green leaf remaining. The tree was carefully removed from the site and, under the direction of the NYC Parks Department, was taken to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where it was carefully nursed back to health. Once the tree was deemed strong enough, it was taken back to the 9/11 Memorial and currently stands as a singular beacon of strength and survival.

Related: 9/11 Memorial Museum’s Design Honors the History and Recovery of Ground Zero

Today, as the world remembers such an impactful event, BBDO is posting the animated film on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s YouTube Channel. The film was directed by BBDO New York creative directors Rick Williams and Marcel Yunes and native New Yorker Whoopi Goldberg narrates the film as the voice of the tree.

President and chief executive of BBDO New York, John Osborn, explained that the story of the tree‘s survival was a “simply beautiful, heartwarming story that deserved to be told in a simply beautiful, heartwarming way.” By forgoing the typical documentary style in favor of animation, the film aims to assist parents who struggle to explain and talk with their children about the events of 9/11.

Related: Michigan Woman Creates Tree-Hugging 9/11 Memorial Plaques That Expand as Trees Grow

“Turning the Survivor Tree into a story for parents and kids allows The National Sept 11 Memorial & Museum to talk to both children and adults alike about a difficult topic, but in a simple, more innocent and approachable way–a way that celebrates how we as people bounced back,” explained Williams. “It’s a metaphor for the human spirit and testament to the healing power of caring.

Along with the release of the film, the advertising company is running “Tweet to never forget,” a fundraising campaign through the 9/11 Memorial website. Visitors to the site can donate 25 cents per character to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum by tweeting about the September 11th commemoration this year.

+ BBDO New York

Via Fast Co. Create