Sunday, August 31, 2008

visiting ground zero...

My friend Josh Wittmier came to visit last week and since he had never been to New York City, we thought it appropriate to take a jaunt into the city to see some of the sites. We made a stop by the old and new Yankee Stadiums, as well as a stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The most impressive and probably most impactful stop during our tour of the city came when we took a subway down to the site of the World Trade Center. You can't get too close to the site itself except for walking around the block since there is a lot of construction going on there right now. Josh and I made our way to St. Paul's Chapel, a small Episcopal church that stands right across the street from the site where the two towers fell. This small church was not only filled with amazing historical significance, but as a structure it has witnessed its share of disaster. This building survived a great fire in New York in the late 1700's, and was the place where George Washington came to pray after his first inauguration in 1789. On September 11th, 2001, this small church witnessed first hand the terrible site of that fateful day. What is trully amazing is that for its proximity to the building collapse it sustained little or no damage in fact when many tall modern buildings around it sustained terrible damage to windows and structure, this small church did not have a single broken pane of glass in the entire building! Below I have included a photograph of what remained of a tree that stood on the corner of the church property closest to the World Trade Center. You cannot see a lot from the photograph, however, imbedded in the flesh of the stump are countless small objects. There are dozens of coins, staples, some piping, and a host of other small objects that fell from great heights and were driven into the tree by the force of the collapsing buildings! It is truly difficult to fathom the force involved and even harder to fathom the reality of how many people were involved.

I have also included another photograph of an inscription on the Hope Bell, which stands in the front yard cemetary of the church. It was a gift to the United States by Great Britain after September 11, 2001. In light of the pictures in the church, the stump with all of its scars, and the sheer weight of the place in which we stood this inscription spoke volumes that could not be verbalized and for much of our visit neither Josh nor I talked all that much.

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