This post is in memory of the victims of the 9/11 World Trade Centre disaster which occurred 10 years ago today.
The Bell of Hope is situated in St. Paul’s churchyard in New York right next to where the World Trade Center used to sit. The Lord Mayor of the City of London presented this bronze bell to New Yorkers on the first-year anniversary of September 11th. Cast by the same foundry as the Liberty Bell and London’s Big Ben, it conveys the empathy and solidarity of the people of London with the people of New York. The Reverend Dr. Daniel Paul Matthews, Rector of Trinity Church, rang the bell on the second anniversary. The Bell of Hope is permanently located in St. Paul’s churchyard.
The rear of St. Paul’s Chapel faces Church Street, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site. After the attack on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, 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. Church history declares it was spared by a miracle sycamore on the northwest corner of the property that was hit by debris. The tree’s root has been preserved in a bronze memorial by sculptor Steve Tobin. While the church’s organ was badly damaged by smoke and dirt, the organ has been refurbished and is in use again.
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.
The Chapel is now a popular tourist destination since it still keeps many of the memorial banners around the sanctuary and has an extensive audio video history of the event. There are a number of exhibits in the Chapel. The first one when entering is “Healing Hearts and Minds”, which consists of a policeman’s uniform covered with police and firefighter patches sent from all over the country, including Iowa, West Virginia, California, etc. 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.