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We Sit Down In Tears


Tiffany Alfonso

As I entered Battery Park, I heard a sound so fluent, a hair overpowered by the rumble of the Twin Towers across the realms of the Hudson River. I followed it as it gets more audible and I paused by a linden tree. I figured out that the despondent but lurid hubbub was the final chorus of Bach's Passion According to St. Matthew, "We Sit Down In Tears." I followed it again and that dolorific piece of classical music was played by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and sung by the Montclair State University's chorus. After it concluded, I turned about-faced for I felt the mayor of New York's and some of the locals who fled from the perils of the tragedy across the periwinkle waters of the Hudson's eyes gazing at me.

"Young lady," he asked, "who was playing and singing that beautiful music and what was it? I can hear it as I ran seven-eighths across the Brooklyn Bridge."

"It was a dramatic excerpt from an oratorio, a musical passion of St. Matthew," I responded, "which reflect this dilemma. And the ones doing its rendition was the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Montclair State University chorus."

"I heard that they're going to perform it in St. Patrick's Cathedral this Friday," he said, and then inquired, "is that song part of the St. Matthew Passion?"

"Yes, but please let them perform this oratorio for what happened this day. I heard an explosion from my recreation vehicle and I watched what's going on outside on my television set. I also perceived the Pentagon also being hit by a plane and a plane crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania."

After much discussion with the mayor, I attended many vigils and services during the rest of the day until Friday. That day, I entered St. Patrick's at five a. m, tired but prepared for a memorial concert. The soloists introduced themselves and talked to me about the happening three days ago and went backstage to warm up. Two of them were American, three were German, and one was an English soprano.

As the concert started at ten and continued till one, I listened with compassion and bowed my head. As the oratorio's last chorus penetrated throughout the cathedral, I stood up with the remainder of the audience and reflected the day that the passion's final chorus signaled the sign of an American tragedy, one disconsolate day that will never be belated forever: September the eleventh, 2001.

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