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'Ribbons of Remembrance' Mark 9/11 Anniversary at St. Paul's Chapel

By Julie Shapiro | September 6, 2011 3:05pm
White ribbons quickly filled the fence outside St. Paul's Chapel Sept. 6, 2011.
White ribbons quickly filled the fence outside St. Paul's Chapel Sept. 6, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

LOWER MANHATTAN — White ribbons emblazoned with the words "Remember to Love" fluttered in the rain Tuesday morning on the fence outside St. Paul's Chapel, across the street from the World Trade Center site.

Dozens of people stopped to write their own prayers or thoughts on the back of the ribbons and tie them to the church's iron fence, forming a growing memorial to mark the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.

"People are yearning for that sense of hope and meaning and love beyond what happened across the street," said the Rev. Anne Mallonee, vicar at Trinity Church, which oversees St. Paul's Chapel and organized the exhibit.

"This is an invitation to everyone…to help people move forward and build a better world."

Called Ribbons of Remembrance, the display echoes the makeshift memorial that formed on the St. Paul's fence in the weeks following 9/11, as mourners and visitors left behind hundreds of photos, stuffed animals, flags and hand-scrawled notes.

To provide a similar opportunity for people to share their memories and wishes, St. Paul's will give out up to 30,000 white ribbons over the next five days, with the goal of surrounding the entire church with written prayers.

One of the people who stopped to tie a ribbon on the fence Tuesday morning was Edith Coutard, 59, a Brooklyn resident who was in New York on 9/11. She wrote, "May God bless you all. Rest in peace" on her ribbon.

"This touches my heart every day," Coutard said of 9/11. "It's my duty to stop and do this. It's so important — I don't have the words to describe it."

Volunteers explained the project to the many tourists who visited St. Paul's Chapel Tuesday, and some of them wrote messages on the ribbons in Spanish, French and other languages.

Mar Medina, 45, was reminded of the 2004 train bombings in her native Madrid.

"We're very close in heart," Medina said. "This is a prayer, so people don't forget."

Aman Dine, 27, from France, also said that 9/11 transcended geographic boundaries.

"It was a real shock for every people in the world," Dine said after tying her white ribbon to the fence.

"I hope a catastrophe [like 9/11] will never again happen in this world."

To tie a ribbon, visit St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Vesey Street, Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 7-9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. though the night into the morning of Sept. 11. St. Paul's Chapel is also collecting virtual ribbons online.