In recognition of the Tenth Anniversary
of the attacks of September 11, 2001,
The Brick Presbyterian Church
in the City of New York displayed an artifact
from the World Trade Center site in the
church’s narthex during the month of September, 2011.


Ten years ago the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the World Trade Center, collected the vestiges of September 11, 2001, in a hangar at JFK Airport. After their curator photographed and numbered each piece of steel, aluminum, crushed fire truck or signpost, insurance agents evaluated the ‘evidence' of the disaster. Most of these ‘artifacts' entered the collections of the New York State Museum and the future National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The Port Authority then offered reminders of 9/11 to fire houses, community centers and other not-for-profit organizations that agreed to preserve them.

The India House Foundation applied for and received Steel ‘M23', a section of I-beam whose form reflects the violence of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. A rescue worker, while putting his own life at risk, had spray-painted it with the instruction “SAVE.” Entering the fiery ‘Ground Zero' to rescue survivors, retrieve victims and extinguish fires, one of these private citizens saw something in a piece of twisted steel worth saving.

M23 and a Dutch flag that once hung in the lobby of Tower Two (but had been taken down prior to September 11 th and was stored in a cardboard tube in the sub basement) were featured in a public exhibit Ships, Explorers and the World Trade Center in February 2010, at India House (adjacent to the British Garden at Hanover Square) and curated by Margaret Stocker. The exhibit also included the keel of a ship discovered in 1916 beneath the future World Trade Center, during excavation for the IRT subway. Some historians believe the burnt timbers to be the ship TIJGER, which had sailed from Amsterdam in 1611, financed by a group of Lutheran investors to purchase beaver pelts from Native Americans, in the wake of Henry Hudson's exploration. Captain Adriaen Block's ship burned, but he built another, christened ONRUST, the first decked vessel known to have been launched on the Hudson River. Block and his crew are the first known Europeans to build dwelling places on or nearby the present World Trade Center.

This steel once held up a skyscraper where thousands of people from many countries conducted business, served lunch and mopped floors. M23 reminds us of the tremendous loss of life as well as the new steel now rising into new buildings in Lower Manhattan.

A few blocks from the current World Trade Center, on Nassau and Beekman Streets, the first Brick Church steeple rose above New York City in 1767. Its sanctuary has been open to all for worship since 1938 at Park Avenue and 91st Street.

The Brick Church will hold a Service of Remembrance and Hope on Sunday morning, September 11, 2011, at the 11 a.m. morning worship service. The service, falling on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, will include a sermon, prayers and commemoration remembering those whose lives were taken from us and looking forward in hope.

Margaret Stocker, Trustee, India House Foundation

World Trade Center Steel ‘M23’
photo by Frederic Sater 2011


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