[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The fifteenth anniversary of the world’s deadliest terror attack will be remembered in special services and events in New York City this weekend. Some 2,996 people were killed in the September 11 attacks in 2001 when terrorists flew hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as passengers tried to regain control of the plane.
A number of events will take place at St Paul’s Churchyard – part of the parish of Trinity Church, Wall Street. The chapel at St Paul’s was used as a relief centre for recovery workers for almost a year after the 9/11 attacks.
The church is currently closed for refurbishment; but a number of events will take place in the churchyard, beginning with an 8am Eucharist service which will conclude with the ringing of the Bell of Hope at precisely 8.46am EDT (12.46pm GMT), marking the time the first plane flew into the North Tower.
The Bell of Hope was a gift from the City of London to the people of New York and was presented by the Mayor of London on the first anniversary of the attacks. It has been rung every year on the anniversary of the attacks and to mark terrorist events elsewhere in the world. The bell will be tolled in a pattern of five-strikes, repeated four times – the traditional method used by US firefighters to remember fallen colleagues.
St Paul’s Chapel, part of the ministry of Trinity Church, Wall Street, was used as a relief centre for recovery workers for almost a year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On Sunday, its churchyard will be the setting for a series of events to mark the 15th anniversary.
Photo: Trinity Church, Wall Street
At 2pm EDT, at Trinity Wall Street, the West Point Band and Cadet Glee Club from the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, will give a concert; including the first public performance of 15 one minute pieces created by composers on the theme of “service” and what it means to different groups of people, including military, first responders and community service.
At 3.30pm, a “Calling of the Names” ceremony will be held in St Paul’s churchyard, honouring the responders, rescue and recovery workers, and volunteers. “We will call the names of those who came to help after the attacks and who have since died,” Trinity Wall Street said.
At 7pm in the churchyard, a programme of words and music will be held as an act of remembrance of those who died in the 9/11 attack and as a result of mass violence worldwide.
The day’s events will conclude with a candlelit Compline service in Trinity Church. “These are the church’s bedtime prayers, and they mark that transition from day into night,” Trinity’s priest for liturgy and pilgrimage, the Revd Daniel Simons, said. “We pray Compline on Sunday evening as a transition before the beginning of the week, as a way to reflect, renew, and refresh.”
Other services and events to mark the anniversary will be held elsewhere in the US and around the world, including in Sydney, Australia, where former Prime Minister John Howard will join the US ambassador to Australia, John Berry, and other diplomats for a service in St Andrew’s Cathedral, to remember the victims of the attack.
“9/11 was a catastrophic event on American soil, but it has affected the whole international community,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, said. “62 countries lost people in this devastating attack. The ramifications have been global and put the world on alert for a new form of destructive, annihilistic terrorism which has sprouted groups like Boko Haram, ISIS and Al Shabaab.
“This service provides us with an opportunity to ponder the gravity of so many deaths where the forces of evil appear triumphant. It also enables us to renew our hope, knowing that God is in control and, through Jesus, offers true peace for a broken and divided world.”
Dr Davies will preach at the service, which will take place at 10.30am AEST (12.30am GMT) on Sunday. Mr Howard, who witnessed the attack on the Pentagon as he was in Washington on 11 September 2001, will deliver a reading from the New Testament. A cathedral bell will be tolled 15 times to mark the anniversary.