Friday, September 9, 2011

St Paul's Chapel - Ground Zero, NYC - part I

Reflections from Ground Zero

Made two years ago as I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero and St. Paul's Chapel, which I have tried to visit annually on the anniversary of 9/11.

St. Paul's Chapel, New York City

Marker on the Grounds of St. Paul's Chapel

Photos and mementos of those who were killed in the Twin Towers on 9/11

The 'Memorial Altar' of those who died

Police and firefighter patches sent from all over the country, including Iowa, West Virginia, California, and many more.

"Healing Hearts and Minds", an exhibit inside the chapel, consisting of a policeman's uniform covered with police and firefighter patches sent from all over the country and the world - a British Bobby's helmet is on top

"Unwavering Spirit:
Hope & Healing at Ground Zero"

Located directly across from the World Trade Center site, St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopal church, was home to an extraordinary eight-month volunteer relief effort after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. 'Unwavering Spirit', a new interactive exhibit, honors that ministry and its legacy of love and compassion

St. Paul's Chapel, at 209 Broadway, New York City, is the oldest surviving church building in the city, built in 1764, on land granted by Queen Anne of Great Britain.

The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 in part because it is the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City. The chapel survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 when a quarter of New York City burned following the British capture of the city in the Battle of Long Island in the American Revolutionary War. George Washington, along with members of the United States Congress, worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel on his Inauguration Day, on April 30, 1789.

The Chapel was turned into a makeshift memorial shrine following the September 11, 2001, attacks that led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Where, according to the most recent statistics, 2,752 people were killed.

St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.
For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked 12-hour shifts around the clock, serving meals, making beds, counseling and praying with fire fighters, construction workers, police and others. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists and musicians also tended to their needs.

The church survived without even a broken window. The fence around the church grounds became the main spot for visitors to place impromptu memorials to the event. After it became filled with flowers, photos, teddy bears, and other paraphernalia, chapel officials decided to erect a number of panels on which visitors could add to the memorial. Estimating that only 15 would be needed in total, they eventually required 400.

There are a number of exhibits in the Chapel. The most visible is the "Thread Project", which consists of several banners, each of a different color, and woven from different locations from around the globe, hung from the upper level over the pews.

St. Paul's Chapel is a very active part of the Parish of Trinity Church, holding services, weekday concerts, occasional lectures, and providing a shelter for the homeless.


There was plenty to pause and reflect on while viewing this monument which is not only to the dead but to all of the acts of kindness, by one to another, after the attack. I am in awe when I think about the fact that this little building not only survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 and it was untouched (not even a broken window) by the collapse of the Twin Towers which were standing directly across the street from the Chapel.

Something to think about, don't you think?

Photos by peacesojourner

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