In one swift attack on the Twin Towers, al-Qaeda associated Islamic terrorists murdered 2,752 innocent people nine years ago today.
America went into a period of mourning. Flags were lowered to half-staff. Members of Congress gathered on the capitol steps and sang an impromptu prayer, “God Bless America.” It was a dark, black day. Houses of worship around the nation held prayer services seeking reassurance, answers, and solace from God.
In the midst of the death and chaos, a Brooklyn-born laborer went into Building 6 to begin removing the rubble at the seven-building World Trade Center complex.
On September 13, Frank Silecchia made his way through the smoldering ruins. He stopped and rubbed his eyes in disbelief. In front of him stood a two-ton, twenty foot cross made of steal that had plunged through the madness and mayhem.
Silecchia testified to reporters, “"When I first saw [the cross], it took my heart, and made me cry for about twenty minutes. It helped me heal the burden of my despair and gave me closure on the whole catastrophe."
Silecchia spray-painted these words on a nearby wall, "God's House," and added a directional arrow pointing the way to the cross.
Silecchia led Father Brian Jordan to the cross. The priest is from St. Peter’s Catholic Church on the corner of Barclay and Church Streets which is one block north from Ground Zero. Silecchia asked Father Jordan what he saw. The priest replied, “Frank, I believe that is a cross. ``We are all anxious for some type of God's presence."
That cross became a powerful symbol of hope and comfort for rescue workers tenderly taking human remains out of their grim tomb for proper burial. Moreover, many workers hauling away the wreckage stopped at the cross, prayed, and wrote their names on the cross.
On October 3, 2001, the cross was removed from the shattered shell of Building Six and placed on a forty foot pedestal to be easily seen by all. It has been the backdrop for many memorial services at Ground Zero. Richard Sheirer, head of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management said, “This piece of steel meant more to many people than any piece of steel ever. It goes beyond any religion."
Today, the cross stands one block away from Grand Zero facing Church Street next to St. Peter’s Church. Father Jordan, who blessed the cross on October 4, 2001, is the keeper of the cross. It awaits installation into the World Trade Center memorial which is under construction.
The administrative secretary at St. Peter’s told me, “People continue to gather around the cross to pray and remember. Some leave flowers and written prayers.”
That cross at Ground Zero shines as a beacon of God’s love because it was on the cross where Christ embraced our pain and suffering. The light from the cross bestows comfort in tribulation, hope in despair, and life in the midst of death.
Rev. Dan White is pastor of North Columbia Church, Appling, GA
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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What a powerful account you have brought to light, here, in your touching story! How you found this out is a miracle in itself. I've never heard any report of it in documentaries I've seen. Thank you so much for finding many of these historical buried treasures (just waiting for discovery) and writing about them. Such a blessing! I intend to tell other FaithWriter friends to pay your page, here, a visit, too.
I also want to thank you for being such a faithful commenter on my writing. I always appreciate what you have to say. God bless you!