W.T.C. Cross finds its way home

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined Father Brian Jordan of St. Peter’s Church on Saturday morning in Zuccotti Park for the blessing of the W.T.C. Cross. Later, a crane lowered the cross into it’s new home at the National 9/11 Museum. Downtown Express photos by John Bayles

BY JOHN BAYLES  |  On Saturday morning work at the World Trade Center site came to a brief halt. Welders stopped welding, cement workers stopped pouring cement and bricklayers stopped laying bricks. Construction workers directed their attention to a single piece of steel.

It wasn’t a piece of steel they had been working on — not a piece of steel that will comprise the framework of One W.T.C., which is quickly rising above their heads. Instead, it was a piece of steel many of them have come to hold sacred following the morning of Sept.11, 2001.

The 17-foot-tall steel fragment, known as the World Trade Center Cross, was part of the remnants of 6 W.T.C. Construction worker Frank Silecchia discovered it days after the attacks, in the area where the building fell. The fragment’s resemblance to a cross was immediately evident. In turn it became a symbol of hope and resilience for the workers, survivors and the victims’ family members who visited the site. On Saturday morning, the cross was moved to the W.T.C. site and a crane lowered it into what will eventually be the National September 11th Museum, set to open to the public in 2012.

There was an official blessing of the cross earlier Saturday morning at Zuccotti Park. Father Brian Jordan, who ministered to construction workers and first responders and blessed human remains during the weeks following the attack, was flanked by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and first responders. Father Jordan held mass and offered communion at the base of the cross every Sunday for months after 9/11.

“After a 10-year journey of faith, the World Trade Center Cross has finally found its home,” said Father Jordan.

The cross’ “journey” took it from the original site where it was found, to a more central site that the workers and survivors could visit in the days and months following the attack. The cross was then moved to the intersection of Church and Cortlandt Streets in February of 2002 and then to St. Peter’s Church between Vesey and Barclay in October of 2006. It remained there, serving as a tourist destination and a place for residents to stop and recollect until last Saturday.

“The World Trade Center Cross is an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could,” said 9/11 Memorial and Museum President Joe Daniels.

T.J. Gilmartin, a shop steward for the United Cementsmiths was at Ground Zero on the morning of the attack and was at Zuccotti Park on Saturday morning. Gilmartin remembered Silecchia, his friend, finding the fragment days after 9/11.

“When Frank found it, the word went around,” said Gilmartin. “The Port Authority was going to take it and put it at JFK [airport] in one of the hangars. But Father Jordan said, ‘No, we need something to symbolize rising from the ashes.’”

Gilmartin echoed Father Jordan.

“It was something that pointed to the future and let us believe that those planes didn’t destroy everything.”

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4 Responses to W.T.C. Cross finds its way home

  1. Barbara Paolucci

    That specific Ground Zero Cross was put there by our first responders to honor what was and is a grave site.u00a0u00a0The Crossu00a0belongs there, its part of our history and just as at any cemetery where a cross is commonly displayed, it should be on permanent u00a0display at Ground Zero.u00a0u00a0 Please let the public know where this lawsuit has been filed and when appearances are scheduled so we can make our voices heard!nnI would ask any lawyer who knows these issues to step up to the plate and help legally get the entire Ground Zero area designated as a burial site.u00a0 There are many families who still do not have the remains of their relatives returned to them and Bloomberg stopped the search for those remains in the entire area (including the proposed Ground Zero Mosque buildilngs) about 2 years ago.

  2. Lawrence White

    What about the Sphere sculpture? It survived the attacks but as far as I know it is still not part of the memorial plan and I would like to know why not.u00a0

  3. Lawrence White

    What about the Sphere sculpture? It survived the attacks but as far as I know it is still not part of the memorial plan and I would like to know why not.u00a0

  4. This silly cross should have been kept at St. Peter's Church , the tourist spot where it really belongs. And these same cement workers who were so very concerned about the cross being at the WTC site walked off the job today cuz they greedily want more money. Instead of a cross, how about a giant .

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