St Paul’s September 11 2002, by Alex Clarke:
It was another beautiful sunny day, just as it was in New York one year previously when our loved ones set off for another day's work. The emotional build up to 11th of September this year had been immense, yet it was hard to imagine that a whole year really had passed. Such a short year, yet such long days.
A torn and dusty union flag draped the altar of St. Paul's. It had been amongst the wreckage at ground zero. The cathedral was packed, the service dignified and solemn, the music beautiful.
Candles were lit. The first to commemorate so many innocent lives lost in both towers, the pentagon and the aircraft. A candle lit at 1:46 (08.46 NY) marked the moment the first aircraft struck and the first minute's silence. Another, lit at 2:03 (09.03 NY) marked the impact of the second aircraft into the south tower.
It was however, watching the three thousand white rose petals — each
representing someone who was killed — falling slowly from the whispering
gallery that moved us all so deeply. After the service they were swept up and
placed in the crypt where we ended our day.
Canon Stephen Oliver conducted a short service. The names of all our relatives were read aloud, we lit candles for each of them and wept.
There are so many people to thank, for making the whole day so moving and meaningful.
Everyone at DCMS, especially, Clare Pillman and Matthew Ashwood. The kind and
efficient police, who shepherded us in and out of St Pauls; The clergy and staff
of the Cathedral who looked after us all day; The choir who sang so beautifully.
Prince's Charles and Harry who spent so much time with us after the service,
and all the thousands of people, whom most of us did not see, that thronged
the streets around St. Paul's and sang and prayed with us, while the service
was relayed outside.
Afterwards we were all totally exhausted, both mentally and physically. Now, as we enter another year we can only hope that we fair no worse than the last.