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Chapel to Clear 9/11 Memorial

November 09, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — A chapel that served as refuge for relief workers after last year's terrorist attacks is trying, as gracefully as possible, to remove hundreds of spontaneous remembrances left to fade on its iron fence.

St. Paul's Chapel is working to clear the fence of tattered tributes, 10 feet at a time over several weeks. The church has promised to preserve them in case a museum wants them.

The fade-out of the memorial began a week ago, even as the church celebrates the role it played after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center here.

A giant photograph of dust and smoke billowing around the steeple as the 110-story twin towers across the street fell is affixed to the front of the church, inviting visitors inside for an exhibit, "Out of the Dust."

Outside the chapel, visitor Karen Reynoldson of Plantation, Fla., looked at wilted flowers, tattered autographed flags and fading ink on what amounts to a quilt of thoughts and gifts for the living and the dead.

"I think they should leave them here for a while," she said. "I imagine the New Yorkers are anxious to get it down."

Across the sidewalk were dozens of tables set up by vendors hawking everything from booklets about the attacks to watches commonly sold on the street.

The slow dismantling was encouraged by some neighbors.

"It's been there over a year now. It's time to move on," said Clyde Williams, the fire safety director at a nearby building.

He said the fence can ignite painful memories. "I still feel so bad," he said, "for the people who lost their lives."

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