When 9/11 hit, believe it or not, some good things happened. I read in the Smithsonian Magazine that the “Survivor” Gallery pear tree planted near the World Trade Center in the 1970s survived. As an inspiration, I wrote a poem about it and read it at a Cancer Survivor Breakfast on April 21, 2012. At the time, my mother, Vivian Baron Mercer, was a survivor, and then-CEO of St. Mary’s Amy Lafine asked me if I would write up something I could read that was inspirational.

‘Flowering Survivors’

Who here now, doesn’t remember

where we were on 9/11?

Many lives were lost that day,

many souls went to heaven.


Amidst all that, the world changed forever that day.

Many people got down on their knees

to do what they hadn’t done for a while,

to pray.


A Gallery pear tree planted near

the World Trade Center in the ‘70s,

brought a touch of spring

to the world of concrete for all longevity.


After the attack, she was smashed and broken

no one thought she would stay alive.

She had dead, burned tissues,

all life stripped away.

How would she survive?


She was given new soil, new herbs, new hope

for more life to come.

Would she make it through all the treatment,

or would she just succumb?


From a tiny branch that would not die,

she still lives on with fame.

Her flowers continue to bloom and last,

“Survivor” is her name.


Cancer was the 9/11 that

attacked and smashed your life.

Your future was unknown,

your present filled with strife.


The prescribed treatment was scary,

but you made it and are here today.

You are a true survivor

and we applaud you in every way!

Cheryl “Rusty” Gash

St. Anne