March 20th, 2014
05:35 PM ET

Japan's 'miracle pine' reminder

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Three years ago last week, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of northern Japan, unleashing the largest tsunami in the country's history. Traveling as fast as a jet plane, the wave reached an astounding 132.5 feet high – that's roughly the height of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue.

More than 18,000 people lost their lives. Coastal communities were decimated. And the most serious nuclear crisis since Chernobyl ensued.

In one town on Japan's coast, only a handful of buildings remained standing when the water receded.

A forest of 70,000 trees – trees that had protected the town for hundreds of years – were lost. All, that is, but one.

The pine tree in the video was the only one to survive the massive wave. It became known as the "miracle pine," a symbol of hope for the devastated community. When saltwater threatened its life in 2012, the 270-year-old, 88-foot tree was cut down, hollowed out and preserved. It was then erected in the same spot, now serving as a memorial to the tsunami victims.

Radioactive water from Fukushima is still said to be periodically leaking into the Pacific. 100,000 people are still living in temporary housing. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week he would not let the disaster "fade from memory."

This tree won't let it.

Topics: Uncategorized

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    While its wonderful that the one lone pine is still standing, its tragic that after 3 years radioactive water from Fukushima is STILL running into the ocean! I would think a little less pride in a lone pine tree and a lot more proactivity in taking care of the Fukushima mess would be more worthy of attention!

    March 20, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
  2. Rush Hannity

    Tree isn't even alive, for God's sake. B f d.

    March 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
  3. false tree false hope

    what a joke! a false tree really represents false hope! I'm sure the people of Fukushima get it..... 🙁

    March 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm |

      No don't you realize that the tree that stood there represented hope. In preserving it they left the hope that it brought with the area. I know that the tree is now fake but that doesn't matter to the people there! That tree will ALWAYS be a beacon of hope to the people there.

      March 27, 2014 at 10:45 am |
  4. ✠RZ✠

    They're just pining.

    March 22, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
  5. California-surfer Joe

    The radioactive material will soon hit California beaches and hurt the beach economy. People will be afraid to go out into the water.

    March 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
    • glennrobert

      You worry to much. There is a lot of cubic miles of ocean to dilute what is really a trickle.

      March 28, 2014 at 2:06 am |
  6. geodude11

    surfer's are as stupid as they sound.

    March 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  7. adam

    so the one tree that survived the tsunami was cut down, hollowed out then put back up? am I the only one who sees the irony and stupidity here?

    March 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Jack

      No, you're not the only one.

      March 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
  8. Jack

    So, this tree survived the worst natural disaster in modern history, became a symbol of hope and perseverance only to be chopped down, hollowed out and stood in the middle of town? This is not an inspirational story. It's depressing.

    March 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |

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