Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trinity Church, Bronx Science, and 9/11

9 long years.  September 11, 2010.  For some, not long enough.

On this grim date, there is so much I can blog about.   The hatred leading to threats of Koran burnings.  The "Ground Zero" mosque not far from where I had a summer job in my junior year of college.

I gave this a lot of thought- because this is not a blog of controversy I want to make Trinity Church  the subject of my 9/11 blog posting.

I remember a very special visit to Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel.  It was closed at the time, 11 months after 9/11.  It had been miraculously spared that horrible day when buildings tumbled a short distance away.  Outside there were all kinds of memorial artifacts.  Teddy Bears, T-Shirt, clothing impregnated with Ground Zero dust, all mingled together.  It was an unforgettable sight.  I have photos somewhere, but in a way I really don't want to post them.  However, Trinity Church has beaten me to the punch, with a wealth of 9/11 eyewitness material.

I can not begin to imagine what that day was like.  It took me 11 months, until August of 2002, until I could bring myself to travel to lower Manhattan.  I rode the R train through the still closed Cortlandt Street station where awoman I went to college with had to ride through daily.  I knew the area from working near City Hall some 28 years before, right when the World Trade Center was opening.  There was no way I could believe how the dust clouds and debris could have been cleared from the streets we walked.

But most of all...the reek.  It clung to all those teddy bears and T-Shirts piled against the church fence.  It was a reek you could not believe.  A reek that was 11 months old and still going strong.

What had it smelled like right after 9/11?

It was the smell of death.  A smell I could not imagine in large doses.  I know people who had to commute to work every day, going through the Cortlandt Street station on the subway, smelling that reek.

Sadly, NYC has not moved the way it should have to restore Ground Zero.  I've been back one other time since then.  I hope to go again before the 10th anniversary.

Trinity Church was spared for a reason - it was spared to bear the testimony of history.

But will we listen to its lessons?

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