On Saturday June 5th, Anna, Julia and I ventured off to St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway and Fulton Street for World Trade Center’s first responders day. We met up with Dr. Judy, her friend Russell Daisy, her mother Sylvia, and Juliane, who is a fellow Smithie who interned for Dr. Judy last summer.
After a bagpipe welcome outside the chapel, the opening ceremony commenced at 11:00 in the morning and featured a variety of speakers who expressed their gratitude for all the hard work that the first responders provided after the events of 9/11. Our own Dr. Judy was one of the first responders after the attacks and worked the night shift at ground zero, prov
iding food and shelter for all of the workers.
After the opening ceremony, we walked around the Chapel and looked at the various displays that were put up showing the numerous ways that the responders helped at ground zero. It was an extremely moving exhibit and it was wonderful to see how people helped out during such a difficult time. Dr. Judy and Anna participated in mural painting along with other attendees of the ceremony. Dr. Judy painted a beautiful purple heart and Anna helped with the sky. The finished mural was beautiful and looked amazing.
After the mural painting we had a lovely lunch outside as a group overlooking ground zero. Meanwhile, the WTC Responder day was not just limited to the Chapel, there was also a mini film festival at the New York City Police Museum, a bodywork and stress reduction workshop, and music and art workshops occurring at various locations throughout the city.
After our lunch, we all went inside and took our seats for a beautiful concert. There was a wide range of performers including choral groups, firefighters performing original songs, and our very own Dr. Judy and Russell Daisy performing their original song “Towers of Light” with accompaniment from Julia and Juliane. The song is about the two neon light towers that were put in the sky after 9/11 to help the city of New York heal and remember and commemorate their loved ones. Everyone did a phenomenal job, and the song was beautiful. Interspersed in the concert were letters read by responders including Dr. Judy. The letters were ones of gratitude and thanks from children and adults expressing their admiration for the responders and all the hard work they had done. One letter in particular was extremely moving and emotional. A father read a letter he wrote to Mount Sinai, the hospital that helped with a lot of the 9/11 aftermath. In this letter he talked about the suicide of his mentally ill son after he became severely depressed after volunteering as a responder. Several people in the room were moved to tears and shared the pain that this father felt through his emotional letter.
It was a reminder of how traumatic of an event 9/11 truly was, and how important it is to give thanks to the responders who helped so much and volunteered so much of their time and efforts. It was an inspiring day, and I feel lucky and blessed to have been a part of it. We did an excellent job filming the event for video documentation, and we will have a finished product soon since we are taking a class on the video editing program, Final Cut Pro later this week! It was a great event and emotionally loaded day that we all thoroughly enjoyed.