I’m writing this article on Thursday the 9th around 3 p.m. It’s 70℉; there’s not a particle-per-million of moisture or western smoke in the bracing air. The sky is “so blue it makes your eyes hurt just to look at it,” as Moonlight Graham puts it in Field of Dreams.
I remember a day just like this one 20 years ago, a Tuesday—the same crystalline air, the same Detroit Lions Blue sky.
It was the first day of Nursery School, 9 a.m. On that first school day of the school year, the staff at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich always crossed the street from the church to the old Victorian house where our preschoolers learned, to introduce ourselves and to welcome children and parents to school and church alike.
The Chair of the Nursery School Board was in the middle of greeting our new students and parents when someone tapped her on the shoulder and whispered in her ear; she fled the room with an ashen face.
Her husband worked for an investment bank on the 88th and 89th floors of the South Tower at the World Trade Center, just above the impact of the second plane.
She didn’t know, when she ran from the school room to get to a phone, that he’d caught a later train than usual that morning and was just emerging from the subway entrance when the second plane hit the second tower. Turned out he was completely safe, if heartbroken when he later learned that 67 colleagues had perished in the attack.
My friend, a Roman Catholic priest in a neighboring parish, conducted seven funerals in the coming days. Our church lost close friends, but no members, no funerals.
You never forget a moment or a day like that, and we’ll continue to remember at the 20th anniversary. Come to church on Sunday, or worship virtually, to think about how our lives have changed these last 20 years, and to think about how the last 18 months have changed the Christian Church (maybe not at all?). We’re starting a new sermon series called Acts of the Apostles: The (Re)Birth of the Church.