September 23, 2001
Chip Stephens, New Jersey

In my years in biotech and healthcare sales and management in the 80's and 90's, I entertained colleagues, customers and family at the Windows on the World up on the 108th floor. I planned and promoted meetings in the conference center in the towers. It was the place to show in a most excellent way-visit the Windows on the World at sunset for a cocktail to watch the city lights come on, then dinner in Little Italy just a few blocks away, then over the Manhattan bridge to the river café in Brooklyn to look back at the city and the proud WTC glowing over the city.

I was angered and saddened a few years back after the first attack on the WTC the security and failure of the restaurant took away a big part of the fun. But the symbol of the structure and the fact it survived the attack gave it a renewed air of importance. It remained until yesterday as a symbol of power, survival, and in my humble opinion, class!

I had to travel to the city today to see the actual view of the loss. The trains were running, the subway took me beyond the allowed check point and somehow I got within a block of where the grand World Trade Center stood until 30 some hours earlier. The dust, the debris, the hundreds of emergency vehicles from hundreds of miles around, the home depot trucks with hundreds of saws and generators, the huge dump trucks with tons of debris heading who knows where…

But I remember most vividly:about 50-75 people gathered on the West Side Drive, which was closed for the transport of volunteers and equipment. They were holding American Flags, "thank you" signs, and cheering each worker going in and out of the tragic site. I was amazed by the massive build up of volunteers-the construction workers, crane operators, EMTs and everyone else; but most important, I remember the open sky that was right there where I had so much fun, had so much success, where over 50,000 souls had worked only the day before.