St. Paul’s Chapel: The Poem & 9/11

The signature poem, “St. Paul’s Chapel,” for Johnson’s most recent
book of verse (now in its second printing) – St. Paul’s Chapel &
Selected Shorter Poems
– has been used since 2002 as the memento
card at St. Paul’s Chapel,
the little chapel that stood
after 9/11, becoming the
relief center (where
Johnson volunteered
during the clean-up
period) for the
recovery workers at
Ground Zero; the Chapel
has served as the
de facto memorial for
millions of visitors, who
have come to the World
Trade Center site since
the attacks. The poem,
extensively published both
here and abroad (also
translated into foreign
languages), has been called
the country’s most widely
read piece of recent verse.


FIVE LIVES: Ten years after 9/11, individual interviews with three former volunteers (including J. Chester Johnson) at St. Paul's Chapel (relief center for the recovery workers and located within yards of the North Tower site), a construction manager at Ground Zero, and the real estate developer of the Ground Zero site.
Courtesy of the A+E Television Networks


RISING FROM THE ASHES: Individual interviews with three post-9/11 volunteers (including J. Chester Johnson) at St. Paul's Chapel (located within yards of the North Tower site), relief center for the recovery workers during the clean-up at Ground Zero.
Courtesy of the A+E Television Networks


J. Chester Johnson in conversation with Rowan Williams, who, at the time, was Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Communion around the world; Dr. Williams is also a well-known poet and theologian. The conversation took place in St. Paul's Chapel in New York City where J. Chester Johnson's poem, 'St. Paul's Chapel,' has been the memento card since soon after the 9/11 attacks in downtown New York City. The Chapel was the relief center for the recovery workers at Ground Zero for the eight months of cleanup, ending in May, 2002.


The 9/11 Tribute Museum, formerly known as the 9/11 Tribute Center, has recently opened in 2017 on Greenwich Street behind Trinity Church Wall Street, only a few, short blocks from Ground Zero. The organization began serving the public in 2006 by commemorating the stories of those who lived and experienced the tragic events of 9/11. The Museum now presents videos, artifacts and personal histories, linking visitors who want to understand more about the attacks with those who experienced them. Comments by J. Chester Johnson, who volunteered at St. Paul’s Chapel at the same time he served on the vestry (governing board) for Trinity Church Wall Street, which owns and operates the Chapel, have been made part of the exhibits at the Museum. During the cleanup at Ground Zero, St. Paul’s Chapel served as the relief center for the recovery workers. Johnson’s words describe the way that the atmosphere and volunteers at the Chapel helped to uplift the spirits of those workers and provide some temporary comforts to those who had to return from the Chapel across Church Street to the Pile at Ground Zero, only a few yards away.