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Ground Zero Cross on the Move Again

NEW YORK (RNS) The Cross at Ground Zero was one of thousands of I-beams used to construct the iron skeletons of the World Trade Center towers. This one fell from the fiery, apocalyptic heavens during the 9/11 terror attacks and stuck upright in the ground, in a field of similar but smaller crosses.

The iconic cross rose higher than the others above the twisted steel, concrete slabs and human remains. When the smoke subsided and the dust and ashes settled, it emerged as a beacon — a sacred symbol of, at once, survival and remembrance.

Almost immediately, rescue workers and firefighters scratched out memorial messages on the 20-foot cross. A shrine was created, services were held.

It was later blessed and draped with a sheet-metal shroud from the wreckage, then hoisted atop a concrete stanchion from the destroyed plaza at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets.

The symbolism was obvious. Church, liberty, religious freedom — concepts that separate America from its attackers. The cross stayed there until October 2006, when it was moved for preliminary construction work at the site.

“It was headed to a warehouse in Long Island, but the firefighters and construction workers objected, so we offered to put it here,” said the Rev. Kevin Madigan, the pastor at nearby St. Peter’s Church, the city’s oldest Catholic parish and where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American to be canonized, worshipped.

The cross will soon move again, to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero.

“The way I understand it, the cross will stand in an apse, which will be built around it,” Madigan said. “So the cross has to be in place before construction (of the apse) begins.”

The church will not be without a 9/11 cross for long. Sculptor Jon Krawczyk is making a replacement, a stainless steel “9/11 Memorial Cross.”

“It will be highly polished, so people will be able to see themselves in it and hopefully reflect on their lives, and lives lost in the terror attack,” Krawczyk said from his studio in Malibu, Calif.

Krawczyk’s 9/11 cross will have three pieces of metal saved from the World Trade Center debris.

“That metal will be used where Christ’s hands and feet would have been nailed,” he said. “Those pieces will stand out because they are rusted.”

The vertical beam of the cross will be 14 feet high, and the horizontal beam will be 11 feet wide. It’s the largest cross Krawczyk has made.

The commission came to Krawczyk after a patron of the archdiocese agreed to fund a cross in New York.

“She wanted it in any church,” Madigan said, “We knew we were losing the 9/11 cross, so (retired) Cardinal (Edward) Egan offered it to us.”

Since then, the benefactor decided to withdraw her offer, so Krawczyk and the gallery that represents his work are raising funds through the church. Krawczyk will finish the cross in a few weeks, then truck it cross-country. It will be installed in early May.

“It’s as big an honor as there possibly can be,” Krawczyk said. “I’m overwhelmed by the significance. To memorialize the sacrifice of the people and the loss of life in art, well, I’m not sure I can put it into words.”

- MARK Di IONNO, Religion News Service

(Mark DiIonno writes for The Star-Ledge in Newark, N.J.)



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    very nice but polishing the cross imo would be a mistake it was not born out of a polished situation

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    May be it’s a good idea ck because if we see our reflection in it it might become more personal to us?

  • http://yahoo.com Chris Borrego

    I think what you are doing, is a wonderful thing. The cross will symbolize all that we have lost, the knowledge we have gained, and the spirit to move forward…………. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!

  • http://TheCross911 Delenna

    I had no idea that there was a cross left from the disaster, but I do know that all things must be fulfilled in order for our Lord Jesus Christ to return to takes us home to be with him, I do think that this Cross is a sign of God’s power, and anger toward our sinful ways and the Cross that Jesus carried was not all shiney and new it was old and Rugged, That is a cross, God Bless the Man who is re-building this for Christ, but we must remember things for Jesus was not all Shiney and Beautiful, it was Old, Rugged, and his Blood Shed for our Sins, Then the Veil was Broken. Please keep this Cross as a Symbol to Honor Gods Power, but also remember that Jesus was hung on an Old Rugged Cross.

    GOD BE WITH US ALL, IN OUR HEARTS AND IN OUR
    MINDS.

    FOR HE IS LOVE

  • http://crossatgroundzero Carol Benz

    We are so blessed to know and love Jesus, our Lord and savior. The cross was put there by our Lord to let the families know He was there holding the victims in his loving arms. I had 3 nephews who worked there, and they were all safe. My nephew, John said he will never forget crossing the bridge to get away from the burning towere and turning around to see the towers burning. He said it was like a very bad dream, and people were in such shock. The cross was our Lord saying it is going to be ok. I wlll never forget you my people, I am holding you in my loving arms.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Phyllis Witt

    It truly doesn’t matter if the cross is shiny or rugged, what matters is that it represents our Jesus’s sacrifice for all of us. He came to die for us, and for our sins, and what He did for us should be all that matters. God’s love for America and America’s love for God are inseparable. Our country will perish without God. Also, the fact that some of the metal from the towers will be placed where our Lord’s feet and hands were nailed to the cross, is very symbolic. What a beautiful way to honor Jesus and all of the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Thank you Mr. Krawczyk for creating a beautiful cross for God and our country. God continues to bless America.

    Love,

    Phyllis

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment tjheresa Sm ith-Cassagnol

    i was in the school,a subteacher, when books where being sold about the 9/11 disaster. as i turned the pages of this book i came upon a
    picture of that cross above the other rubble. the first thing that came to mind was:

    “GOD IS WITH US,NO NO MATTER WHAT, HE IS STILL IN CONTROL”

    it was at this point that i decided to purchase the book. i keep a

    marker in that page, at that picture. GOD HAS GIVING US FREE WILL,

    WE MAKE CHOICES; NOT NECESSARLIY GOOD ONE. THE CROSS TAKES US BACK TO HIS SUFFERING. SUFFERING WE CANNOT EVEN IMAGE AND WE WILL NEVER INDURE.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment terry harmon

    The cross is a smybol of CHRIST ‘s death for us all through the world. This current cross should stand for the police and firefighters and the people that was killed on 9/11

    This day is importment to me as it is my birthday. What a present to see the planes come in and crash into the twin towers . That birthday was ruined thatday. Now this cross being built out stainless steel and then polished to a fine shine. I am like some of the commenters is that the cross was old and rugged and was not shiney at all. Now at the time the people did not know anything about stainless steel and if they did they would have put Christ on it. So we have an updated cross made from stainlessa steel and have a lifetime of not rusting very soon.Yes there was lots of people killed and went to their graves in those buildings. So I leave this thought for you to ponder on. Jesus died on the cross for sins of mankind. And yes even the Muslims and other groups of other religous groups of man. The cross for the folks in NYC should be a reminder that Jesus died for us all. Those killed in NYC gave up their lives so we might live in a country that we count the cost of freedom.And it is very expensive.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment johnny

    I don’t believe it should be a rugged cross, or if it is a shineing cross. I for one, look up in the air and see a bird flying and i think about the cross, god is with us everywhere, just as long as it is a cross.

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