“The tolling of this bell is, of course, in mourning for those who tragically lost their lives here. And it’s a reminder, for those who choose, that there’s eternal life; that God has received these gentle souls into the arms of his mercy.”
—the Rev. James Cooper, rector at Trinity Church. St. Paul’s Chapel is owned by Trinity Church, further down Broadway.
The Bell of Hope was a gift from London’s St. Mary-le-Bow, which is the sister church to St. Paul’s Chapel. Installed in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel in September 2002, the Bell of Hope is rung at a ceremony every year on September 11th. It has also been rung after the bombings in Madrid, 2004; London, 2005; Mumbai, 2008; Moscow, 2010; and the Boston Marathon, 2013; and for the shootings at Virginia Tech, 2007 and in Norway, 2011.
Prayers for peace are recited. In the tradition of the FDNY’s salute to fallen firefighters, St. Paul’s clergy tolls the bell in four sets of five rings. The bell’s pedestal is made of eastern brownstone. During the 19th century brownstone, mostly quarried in Belleville, New Jersey, was used as a facing for townhouses in New York and Brooklyn. Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel’s parent church, is made of brownstone; and the detailing for St. Paul’s Chapel is brownstone.
“To the Greater Glory of God
And in Recognition of
The Enduring Links Between
The City of London
The City of New York”
—the first part of the inscription on the Bell of Hope
The bronze bell was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London’s East End. The foundry was founded in 1570 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It is where the U.S. symbol of independence, the Liberty Bell was cast in 1752. This foundry also cast Big Ben, the bell in Elizabeth’s Tower at the Houses of Parliament, in 1859
Beneath the bell is a stylized map of the footprints of the World Trade Center complex as it stood before the attacks and destruction of September 11th 2001. The Twin Towers are clearly visible, surrounded by the lower-rising buildings making up the complex.
“Forged in adversity—11.September.2001”
—the second part of the inscription on the Bell of Hope
St. Paul’s Chapel, the oldest surviving public building in Manhattan, served as a place of hope and rest for members of the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York and others involved in the recovery operation at Ground Zero. The chapel was miraculously unharmed when the Twin Towers collapsed, not even a window was harmed. A large sycamore tree in the northwest corner of the churchyard took the brunt of the destruction. A half million hot meals were distributed to the recovery workers by the chapel.
Discover the Bell of Hope in St. Paul’s Churchyard, and much more on our Downtown Manhattan Walking Tour. Take the Tour; Know More!
Read our previous articles honoring September 11th.
The 9|11 Memorial
Remembering 9|11, Far from New York
New York’s Bravest and New York’s Darkest Day
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT, EXCEPT CREDITED QUOTES, © THE AUTHOR 2016