By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Officers of the 13th Precinct and residents of Gramercy commemorated the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center this past Sunday.
Officers gathered outside the precinct at 8:30 a.m. and observed a moment of silence at 8:46, the time that the first plane collided with the north tower.
Calvary Church on East 21st Street hosted one service at 11 a.m. on the day of the anniversary and invited Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, to speak about the parish’s partnership with the community in the days and weeks following the attacks.
“The year that followed was a year of great courage, great patriotism, great love and great sorrow,” Harrison said. “It was a year of endless funerals, endless memorials, and endless tears. In our neighborhood it seemed that everyone we talked to had been touched personally by this senseless act of terrorism, either directly or through the loss of a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, a business associate.”
The GPBA, along with Calvary Church and Brotherhood Synagogue, had hosted a vigil and candlelight procession a few days following the tragedy. The block association also arranged for supplies that were needed at Ground Zero and Harrison coordinated with Reverend Tom Pike to use Calvary Church’s Anderson Hall to store the items.
“I vividly remember that at that time there was a Korean service going on here, and the congregants rushed outside to joined strangers who we were commandeering as they passed by to help us form a chain of people to pass hundreds of boxes of supplies from the tractor trailers into the church,” Harrison recalled. “To give you an idea, the supplies reached the ceiling of the Narthex before being transferred into Anderson Hall, and then down to the World Trade Center site.”
The GPBA had also organized a number of benefits and fundraisers for the families of local police officers in the months following, as well as planting a small remembrance garden that residents of the community continue to maintain and installing a photographic exhibit at the 13th Precinct.