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#41873 - 09/17/01 03:24 AM Remembrances  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,289
Bobyoungbalt Offline
Bobyoungbalt  Offline

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,289
A number of you have posted descriptions of ceremonies, rallies, and other formal public or semi-public remembrances or memorial services, which have moved and heartened me, particularly that of IP (thanks very much for that, IP). I would like to see more. Maybe we could use this thread to describe some of what we ourselves have witnessed or participated in.

For my part, this morning's church service was one of the most moving I have ever attended, also one of the most difficult to get through. As I may have mentioned along the way here, my church is the Cathedral of the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Maryland. I sing in the choir. An email went out from the choirmaster on Wed. announcing that everyone needed to be at choir practice on time Thursday evening and be prepared to stay late, as most of the music that had been planned, and practiced earlier, for Sunday (today) had been changed. We learned a new anthem and several new hymns.

This morning all arrived earlier than usual for final rehearsal. The pews were already nearly full as the organist played the Barber Adagio for Strings, many people weeping. The choir (45 strong, biggest ever) processed down the aisle, not with a hymn, but ringing handbells and chanting. Following special prayers, in lieu of the Gloria the choir sang the anthem we had learned Thursday, a section of the Faure requiem. The lessons were appropriate to the occasion, Ps. 23, readings from Micah and Revelations and St. Luke. By this time people were sitting in extra benches and folding chairs in the aisles and on the steps to the baptistry and basement. There were more people there than on Easter or Christmas and many with children of all ages. While communion was being taken, our best soprano soloist sang Pie Jesu also from the Faure Requiem, and immediately on finishing dissolved in tears in the arms of the asst. organist.

There were good hymns, a challenging and consoling sermon frm the Dean, but the end was a masterpiece. The choir recessed, everyone singing God the Omnipotent (which goes to the tune of the old Russian natl. hymn) and then went down the two side aisles, grouping ourselves into quartettes, standing on both sides of the congregation. Following the dismissal, where the postlude would normally come, the organist sounded a chord and the choir sang America the Beautiful a cappella, in harmony, at a rather deliberate tempo, a bit slower than usual. That we started, stopped and stayed together was a miracle, since we couldn't see the choirmaster. The congregation tried to sing, but few could, most having tears running down their faces. Most of the choir, myself included, managed to sing about half maybe, being choked up the other half of the time, but not everyone at the same time, so there was even sound all the way through. The whole service was one of the most beautiful and moving things I have ever heard or attended and did me a world of good.

#41874 - 09/17/01 11:28 AM Re: Remembrances  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Jackie Offline
Jackie  Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Louisville, Kentucky
Bob, I am so glad that you benefitted so much from your service. It sounds wonderful. If you-all tape your services, I hope you're planning to get one. Ours was good, also, though with fewer people attending than I had expected. Our choir changed anthems, too--we did "Prayer for Peace". We sang different hymns, as well. One was a new set of words to a familiar tune, written especially for the aftermath. My friend was unable to get through leading the responsive reading without crying. We sang "It is Well With My Soul", one of the most beautiful and meaningful hymns--all four verses. It was so comforting, just being together. Another friend who had just come back from a trip late on Saturday night made the effort to get up early, just to be with our close-knit Sunday School class.
Someone had put up the red, white and blue bunting in the sanctuary, that usually only goes there for the Fourth of July Sunday. I think that Pres. Bush started, and we pretty well followed, the intermingling of church and state, but I also think few cared--not even my husband, who is quite vigorously against that. At the end, the congregation joined hands all around the church, and we sang God Bless America. Dozens of people came to the altar rail to pray. Lots of tears, enough to make me wonder how big a container it would take, to hold all the tears that have been shed over this.

#41875 - 09/18/01 11:59 AM Re: Remembrances (a jotting in progress)  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel
maverick  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
Nine Eleven Bells

The year turns nine eleven, and
A vast blue sky hangs
Over Manhattan, glittering as a bell jar on an anthill.
Within the plated scurrying bodies
Beats one enormous
Termite heart: it pumps a beat,
Relentless, sounding like a tocsin in the blood
Around the world, yet like all hearts
We hear it not –
Until a ragged tearing in our breath
And heated hammering in our ears
Gives gulping pause.

Nine now, and the twin towers
Reach their eleven into the icarine blue
As if to say “we’ll climb so high toward the mid-day sun,
Then buy it all, all that we see!”
But wings of death explode the dream
And shards of concrete shed their lethal rain
And the endless spill of paper casts itself upon the wind.

Within a hot glazed room the phone bell rings,
Puncturing the unnatural moment’s
Hush at an empty desk.
Outside, the nine eleven calls ring out and split our world:
There was before, now
There is after.
There are some sights no human eye was meant to see
Yet horror draws us back,
Again and again,
Until our very dreams seem to contain
A silver guillotine slicing through such towering hopes.

The voices of the world spill out
In babbling shocks of sharing sorrow,
Chased along the canyons by roiling blasts of
Smoke and angry dust: from far, we
Taste the spoil upon our tongues
And weep for what is lost.
On Sunday there are bells:
Some are beaten for the rhythmic call of common purpose.
Some are stroked for the sweet
Beauty of shared humanity shown in the flames.
Some are pealed for lonely anguish.
Some are cannoned for the fierce pleasure of the brassy voice.
In days that follow, leaders beat repeatedly
With their iron spears upon the loud liberty bell:
Blood calls to blood in the age-old sacrifice of our kind.
Yesterday, a fireman rang the bell
That starts the dance of capital once more.
In far-off lands, the bells ring to announce
Another flood of refugees.

In these repeating numbers and
Strikes of clapper on singing brass
We chase our memories,
Seeking the patterns that will give us ease.
Perhaps it will not come, until
Our hearts are still enough to let within
A small and yet intense unbounded love:
A tiny bell of golden brightness that rings for one and all.

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