On September 10th 2001, Brian Gordon, leader of the Lune Valley Vintage Jazz Band, together with his wife Anne, set off on a trip to America which was to culminate in a visit to Boston and the wedding of Tony Pringle's daughter. Tony is a long time friend and also leader of the New Black Eagles Jazz Band. This was to follow on from a visit to their daughter Katharine, in New York. What they didn't know was that Katharine had planned a surprise for them. She and her boyfriend had arranged to have a quiet wedding on the 12th September at City Hall, New York, next to the World Trade Centre. Without telling them, she suggested to Brian that he went into the city and booked a meal at the restaurant on top of the World Trade Centre for the 12th. It was the morning of the 11th that Brian and his wife set off for the World Trade Centre to book a table, but as he travelled down 5th Avenue, about a mile from the Centre, he noticed plumes of smoke coming up in the distance and then people dashing out of shops. They told him that an aircraft had hit the World Trade Centre. Brian tells me that people were in total shock, but he will never forget the speed at which they began to rally round. When they got back towards their hotel, they popped into the local Episcopal Church of America where they could rest and recoup and talked to the Rector. It was only after they met up with daughter Katharine, that they discovered their wedding plans, which of course had now been thwarted. On the 12th September Brian and his wife, went back to the church and spoke to the rector again. He said that in the circumstances, he could marry the couple, providing they had all the paperwork, and he could also do it at 5pm or 7pm that day. Back at the hotel Brian waited for Katharine to return with her boyfriend, which they did at 4-30pm and he immediately asked them if they still wanted to get married. They said that they did, so Brian asked, "5pm or 7pm?"
At 5pm, without stopping to get changed, the couple were at the church getting married.
Of course, the original object of the visit was still there but with public transport into the City halted, roads and bridges closed and aircraft grounded, Brian still had to find a way of getting to Boston. He managed to get a train to Newhaven and there hired a car which he drove to Boston for the wedding of Jenny and Steve at Shakers Hill Golf Club in the Berkshire hills.
Brian added that they had a wonderful time and they felt so comfortable and safe amongst the New York people.
What an experience!
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