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Survivor Tree

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Men in My Head
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Eddie Gindi Survivor Tree Story

My name is Eddie Gindi and I, along with my partners, own Century 21 department stores. I have worked across the street from the World Trade Center since 1979. The WTC landscape and the downtown financial neighborhood were, and still is, part of my DNA. Our store was demolished during the 9/11 tragedy and was closed for six months. But we stayed, we persevered, we reopened and, thank God, we flourished!

When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred, it totally devastated my life. It had affected me in ways that changed me, hardened me and saddened me for a long, long time. I was not able to talk or let any emotions out regarding that dark day. I could not watch any movies, videos or documentaries that chronicled the 9/11 disaster, and those emotions remained bottled up inside me for the last eleven years.

Then last year, we got a tour of the 9/11 memorial and I saw the survivor tree. The story told to me was that soon after the attack, members of the parks dept. examining ground zero, saw this burnt stump of a tree with just a branch sticking out amid all the ash and rubble. The men, who I call heroes, dug out this burnt stump of a tree and replanted it in a Bronx park, hoping that it could be nursed back to life and grown again into it’s former glory.

Now over ten years later, there it was, right in front of me, replanted in the 9/11 Memorial with the Freedom Tower rising in the background. This Survivor tree was not only alive, but its proud leaves were fabulously blowing in the breeze. It persevered and is flourishing again, just like New York City has, and just like our store Century 21.

After the tour I went to my office and cried, and all my emotions from that day came pouring out. It helped me to recover and to see firsthand, that as horrible an act that the murderous terrorists committed that day, they still cannot stop the human spirit and cannot kill our Survivor Trees’ spirit.

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