St. Paul's Church is located between Broadway and Church Street in downtown NYC. It is just across the street from ground zero, and is one of the only buildings in the immediate vicinity to have survived the devestation unscathed. In the months following the tragedy it became a refuge and sanctuary for thousands of volunteers and service men and women as they worked endlessly in their search for bodies. They went there to pray, to eat and to sleep and continued to do so for nine months after the attacks.
This was also where well wishers and mourners created a makeshift memorial, posting photos of loved ones lost, and messages of love and support were also added onto the fence surrounding the small church. Many of those personal items were saved and are now on display inside the chapel in an exhibit called "Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero."
We didn't go there on Saturday, but decided to visit Monday and I am glad we did. It was a moving tribute to all the victims and the workers alike, with messages and momentos from the months following the Setptember 11 attacks, it was an emotional experience that left me choking back tears and unable to speak. There was very little talking within the church and no-one was meeting anyone else's eyes. It was a very personal insight and yet the feelings seemed connected..
Photography was allowed and I took a few pictures, something I did not feel entirely comfortable with, but I have decided to post a couple of them so that you might see some of what I am talking about. Any of the personal pictures were posted by people for public viewing as a tribute to their loved ones, so I feel ok with sharing them here...