Monday, 12 September 2011

A Different Sunday

Yesterday was out of the usual Sunday pattern. I was away at the very beautiful Scargill House, high up in the Yorkshire Dales at a gathering of the Association of Christian Writers. You can see Scargill at

And, of course it was the anniversary of that day when LOS came to tell me about what was happening on the news. British Summer Time is five hours ahead of the US, so it was nearly two o'clock here, we'd had lunch and I was hanging out the washing. Everybody remembers what they were doing that day.

But I want to tell you now about 9.11 the following year, 2002. I may have told you this story before but it doesn't hurt to tell it again. Daughter and I went into York for a mother and daughter day and saw that something was happening in St Helen's Square. The street entertainers had organised their own way of marking the day.

They'd set out candles to light, a book of condolence to sign, and a box for donations towards the families and survivors fund, and they had a list of names of everyone who died in the Twin Towers attack. They were to read out all those names alphabetically, taking turns. They gathered respectfully round a makeshift podium, musicians, mimes, circus performers. Shortly before two, one of the entertainers stepped up and began to read from the list.

Daughter and I stayed for little while, paid our respects, and left. That afternoon we did all the usual things - shopped, window-shopped, went somewhere nice to eat, and we may have gone to Evensong at the Minster, but I can't remember. It must have been at least four hours later when we walked back to the station through St Helen's Square.

There weren't many bystanders by that time. The entertainers were still there, still reading from that unbearably long list. I think they were up to the letter 'S'.

Every year at this time I think of 11 September 2012, when the mimes and music-makers solemnly took the city by the hand and led us to Ground Zero. From Old York to New York, we watched with you on that long day.


Kaitlin said...

Thank you, Mrs. McAllister.

Deborah said...