In my post about the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I mentioned that in 2001 there was no clear focal point for peoples’ grief, no obvious place to congregate or to lay flowers in the days just after the attacks. Some people did gather in Grosvenor Square in London, in front of the US Embassy, and in the following year the British Government announced plans for a memorial garden just on the other side of the square.
So now London does have a site dedicated to the memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. I visited the memorial last week; some of my photographs appear below with captions to tell you more about it.
A semicircular pergola in the back and flower beds in the front make a circle around a carved stone commemorating all those who died in the attacks of 9/11. At the back of the circle (opposite the entrance to the garden) sits this pavilion of English oak.
Under this stone is buried a rusted steel girder from the World Trade Center, weighing half a ton and preserved in resin; it was decided the metal piece itself was too distressing to display openly. The poem around the edge is 'For Katrina's Sun-Dial' by American poet Henry Van Dyke, who wrote it to be used in the garden at Yaddo, the the house of the Trask family and now a famous artist's colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. You may find the words familiar; they are often used at funerals. It reads: "Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is not."
Three plaques inside the pavilion display the names of all of the British victims of 9/11.
Having had almost ten years to grow, vines cover the pergola. The plants include varieties native to the UK and the USA, chosen to give scent and blossom as much of the year as is possible in this climate, but concentrating on species that are at their best in mid-September. It was glorious when I was there last week, with such a mix of scents I couldn't identify which flowers were contributing to it.
Prince Charles placed this wreath, with the red poppies that are traditional for remembering the fallen, at the memorial service on 11 Sept this year. The white flowers are shaped into three plumes to approximate the three white feathers emblematic of the Prince of Wales (see featured link). Princess Anne was the royal on hand for the opening of the garden in 2003.
- The vines overhead, seen from a seat under the pergola.
Looking out at the flower beds.
The pediment is carved with words from the Queen's remarks at a memorial service in 2001: "Grief is the price we pay for love."