The Table of Silence Ceremony: A Look Back Into 9/11’s 17th Anniversary Commemoration

This past September 11th, 2018 marked the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks - a series of four, coordinated terrorist attacks organized by the Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda. On this day, New Yorkers gather to reflect on this tragic event and remember all the lives that were lost.  

Each year, artist and choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi organizes a tribute to the 9/11 attacks by performing a prayer for peace and healing. Known as the “Table of Silence” ceremony, the dance and the transcendence into silence serves as a way for viewers to find solitude.

Dancers can volunteer in advance to participate in the ceremony, given that they come wearing crème white capes and kurtas, lined with white undergarments and white linen trousers. The performers draw white chalk marks on their face, cheeks, and temples, and hold plates on their backs as a symbol of strength. During the dance, the performers gracefully move their arms in legs in holistic movement, running around the plaza and singing in unison. All performers are barefoot when running, tapping at their chests and looking up at the sky throughout. At the front of the plaza are two, large bass drums and a gong, which when struck is used as a signal to the dancers to move as one around the renowned Revson Fountain.

The dance usually begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 8:46 a.m., the very minute that the first plane crashed into the Twin Towers. At 8:46 a.m. precisely, the gong is struck and the dancers sit in silence, raising their hands up to give gratitude towards the people who passed.

Viewers can attend the Table of Silence Ceremony each year at Lincoln Center in the Josie Robertson Plaza. Many can stand and overlook the performance from the balcony area of the David H. Koch Theater, and can find comfort prior to the performance by speaking to the people around them about their stories. The performance is entirely free and serves as a beautiful way to reflect on lost loved ones and this significant event in history.

Image Credit: Taken by Writer