Delta Winds cover 2005Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


The Twin Towers

Nick Zeiher

Tall, sleek, soaring. To some they were beautiful and to others they were ugly. They reflected the rays of the sunshine on one side and cast a shadow of darkness on the other. They were viewed as an engineering and architectural marvel and an oversized hunk of glass, steel and cement. They operated as their own city, with their own zip code, and they transcended and engulfed everything around them.

I will never forget the first time I went to New York City; I found it a wonderful city filled with magnificent buildings, new and old. But, the buildings I found the most incredible were the Twin Towers. I lay flat on my back, on the cold cement, right in front of them to see all the way to their very tops. They were the tallest, biggest, most beautiful buildings I had ever seen. Some New Yorkers loved them for their immense size; still others hated them for the exact same reason. The center where they stood was named to represent a world united in commerce: "The World Trade Center." However, those who named the center had no idea how one day it would unite the world -- not in the glorious celebration that opened them, but in a tragedy that would forever mark their place in history.

The Twin Towers soared 1,350 feet into the air. They looked as if they touched the base of heaven. They were the tallest buildings in New York. Their enormous windows were made to reflect the beautiful rays of the sun on one side, but due to the immense size of the buildings themselves, they blocked these same rays of sunshine on the other side, casting a long dark shadow every day. Those who lived on the east side, facing away from the towers, enjoyed the sunshine; those who lived on the west side, facing away from the towers, were able to see the sunsets. But those who faced the towers seldom, if ever, enjoyed any sunshine or sunsets. Their windows and rooms grew dark and their views became obstructed by the gigantic glass, cement, and steel of the Twin Towers that not only touched the sky, but for many blocked it from view. These people could not see the beauty of the towers, their light, their glory; they could only see the shadows and darkness now cast upon them.

Some viewed the sleek, smooth architecture of the buildings as beautiful, modern, clean and crisp, creating a skyline that was overwhelming. Yet, others felt they were nothing more than giant, square, glass and steel box-like structures with no real shape, beauty or form about them. I was able to have several conversations with people who worked in the Twin Towers when I visited them. The people who worked in the restaurants on the top floors talked about the weather. They told how when they came to work it was calm, dry, and warm at the entrance, yet when they reached the top and looked out the "Windows of the World" it would be windy, misty, and cold.

Some people thought the Twin Towers were nothing more than two ugly buildings, built to unnecessary heights, just to symbolize the dominance of one nation in the world. This view seemed to be the same view that was taken by those who brought them down on September 11, 2001. However, I believe those from abroad who brought down these incredible buildings missed what they were built to represent, just as those in New York who hated them had.

For beyond the reflective glass, the sleek exterior of steel and cement were people -- people from different countries all over the world, with different religions, cultures, backgrounds, all working in peace to try to create a better world for all to live. There were people who represented oil firms and people who represented charities. Perhaps some of these people hated each other (the darkness, the shadows), some loved each other (the light, the sunshine) or some simply over time found a middle ground of acceptance through understanding (a little of both). These buildings were not built to represent dominance over anything or anyone, but to represent the hope, peace, and acceptance of a "world" that had joined together, in commerce, to try to improve life for everyone, everywhere.

I will never forget the last time I saw the Twin Towers: They were not beautiful; they were nothing more than a pile of nondescript rubble. Twisted beams of steel darkened and black from the fires, huge chunks of cement shattered into meaningless forms, pane-less window frames, and lost, torn, bits of papers; pieces of lives, scattered about everywhere. Huge cranes able to pick up twenty or thirty tons looked like little Tonka toys in the fifty-foot deep pit among the piles of rubble. The fifty-foot deep pit was the area where the underground mall and subway station had been. Seeing this left me saddened. My beautiful buildings that had once reached the heavens were no more. The pile of rubble seemed small in comparison to the buildings that had once been. All that could be recognized were a few larger pieces of the outer walls still partially standing. However, even they looked like something ripped from the pages of my history book -- a bombed out building from WW II, not a skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan.

The terrorists may have brought down these two controversial buildings that some loved and others hated, but in the end no one was happy they were gone. The terrorists had not separated the world by destroying the towers; in fact, the terrorists achieved just the opposite. For a time, the loss of the towers united the world. As for the individuals within the towers, many left this earth on September 11, 2001, and went to the heavens that the towers seemed to touch, but these people will never be forgotten. And neither will the Twin Towers. They will always stand as a uniting force around the world to those who lived both to the east and the west of them. The Twin Towers and all they stood for will always live in the sunshine of humanity.