Standing only a few inches tall, Manuel Lopez sees the hope that flourishes within the roots of a few tree seedlings.
"I think it's very important to have living reminders everywhere so people can witness that it's not only a tree," he said.
The New College professor of religion hand-carried the seeds back to Sarasota from Japan. He collected them last year from a program called Green Legacy Hiroshima. Each was picked from trees that survived the 1945 atomic bombing.
"It's a tree that's connected to this very terrible moment connected to humanity," Lopez said.
Yet he believes they signify a symbol that all generations can learn from.
"To see these trees that were able to survive such devastation brings a little tiny bit of hope in the midst of what was a terrible situation," said Lopez.
Lopez brought the seeds to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. It's where they will grow into mature camphor, holly, and persimmon trees.
"Some are still in their seed trays trying to get germinated, some will germinate in a year," said Angel Lara.
Angel Lara, the director of Glasshouse Collections said this was a special moment for his team.
"We were all in it. We were very excited to have this opportunity to help this project along," he said.
Lara said the trees will help connect visitors to the past.
"We want to grow these out, we want to display them and have people see them and have that special relationship," said Lara.
While it will take years for these seedlings to become parent trees themselves, each step of their life continues to show the hope and growth of future generations.
"I think they will take history from this and the resilience of nature and plants in general. The ability to want to overcome and survive," said Lara.
The seedlings have many years to grow but will be displayed temporarily at Selby Gardens throughout the month of August. Veterans are invited to visit Selby Gardens at no cost on Sunday, August 6.