St Paul's Cemetery New York USA Bell of Hope

Hope rings eternal in New York

I must be the only person in the world who has not seen footage of New York on 9/11. I was living in Alaska at the time and I didn’t have a TV. I’ve never felt the need to watch it since as I’m already up to my tonsils in man’s inhumanity to man. I wanted to see Ground Zero though, but the queue was too long and I was too hot and anyway, with that many people crawling all over the place, I suspected I’d have been as disappointed as I had been when I visited the Sistine Chapel. I’m all for limiting the number of visitors at any one time so that that I can actually enjoy the moment and not feel put upon to move on.

St Paul's Cemetery New York USA

I still wanted to pay my respects, so I popped into St Paul’s. It’s hard to believe that it withstood the bombings and has been a New York feature since 1766. I quite fancied that I saw shapes in the shadows of the tombstones and spent quite a few minutes wandering the cemetery. One stone, in particular, caught my eye, erected to the actor George Frederick Cooke (17 April 1756 – 26 September 1812), father of the so-called romantic style of acting. The stone was erected by Edmund Kean, the man who made that style famous. On it is written:

Three kingdoms claim his birth; both hemispheres pronounce his worth.

Not a bad legacy at all.

St Paul's Cemetery New York USA Bell of Hope
Close by stands the Bell of Hope, which was presented to New York by the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. On each anniversary of 9/11, it is rung in memory of those who lost their lives. It also rang on 11 March 2004 when the bombs went off in Madrid, and on 7 July 2005 when London was hit. Symbolising the triumph of hope over tragedy, it would be nice if it tolled just once a year from now on. It is rung to

honor the achievements of all peacemakers who srive, in ways big and small, to work for reconciliation around the world.

Nice one, lads!

2 replies
  1. Arturo Provosto
    Arturo Provosto says:

    Your foto of the St Paul’s cemetery reminded me of my first look at the cemetery in the January after 9/11. All was covered with the white-grey dust that is so connected in heads with 9/11. There was no access to the grounds. There was so much dust that access would have ment HazMat suits, partical basks and safety goggles. It is amazing that the church and cemetery survived. One church that did not was a small Greek Orthodox church building that was across Liberty Street from the site. Several years prior I was a tourist on the top of the South Building and I noticed the little building nestled in front of a high rise glass financial building. I wanted to photograph it but there was no time since I had a plane to catch. I do regret not getting that photograph. The building needs to be remembered and yet I have never seen mention of it in any of the building obits. Over the next 8 or 9 months I worked at the site there was an overwhelming sense of loss and sorrow that was hard to shake. Even a bubble tea from China Town could not fill the void. Roberta have since been back after the temporary PATH station was built. The site is both ordinary and extraordinary. A little trivia: The towers were alternately named Towers 1 & 2, South Tower & North Tower or John and David after the Rockefeller brothers that championed the building of the Trade Center.


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