Thinking Forward

The roots of the survivor tree will always be here, deeply grounded in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. We’ll never stop looking back. But the Survivor Tree has grown. We’ve all grown.

Today we’re in a unique position. We can lead by thinking forward. We’ll continue to share what we’ve learned with the world, while having the Survivor Tree’s branches shade more people – to let it offer hope and mark the beginning of a path towards healing.

Twenty-five years have passed since the Oklahoma City bombing, and in the next 25 years, this will be a place where people find themselves working through their own loss and grief, inspired by the example forged here. Whether that loss and grief is related to what happened here or they bring it from their own life, the Survivor Tree and our collective experience can – and should – lead the way.

We can move towards a forward-thinking vision of listening, sharing and inspiring people to be strengthened by what they’ve been through. Together, we can help others discover strength in brokenness, courage in grief and resolve in pain – and teach new generations that we always get to decide how to respond to injustice. Because we all need to be reminded that the world holds far more good than bad.

One part of this renewed mission and purpose is the spreading of the Survivor Tree’s seeds across the nation and world. Each year, seeds are harvested. When ready, those seedlings are given to family members, survivors, first-responders and visitors to the Memorial.

Today, Survivor Tree seedlings grow in yards and playgrounds across the state and country. Even the White House lawn enjoys shade from a tree that began as a seedling from the Survivor Tree. A Survivor Tree clone offers shade in Oklahoma City’s Scissortail Park. You can grow your own as well.

At the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, we are constantly finding new ways to educate the next generation – creating new ways of sharing our lessons without sharing our heartache. From outreach programs to the Uncover-Discover STEM Lab, our own Lesson Plans and Student Scholarships, it all serves that purpose: ensuring that all who leave here know the impact of violence, and it’s all in the hope that the generations that follow find a better path forward.

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