In 1970, Japanese American architect Minoru Yamasaki started work on the World Trade Center with his associate Emery Roth. It was completed six years later. The twin towers, with 110 floors rising 1,353 feet, was, at the time, the tallest man-made structure in the world. From observation decks at the top of the towers it was possible to see 45 miles in every direction.
Upon its completion, Yamasaki was asked what the Twin Towers meant to him. This is how he responded:
“World trade means world peace and consequently the World Trade Center buildings in New York have a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants. The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace. Beyond the compelling need to make this a monument to world peace, the World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a representation of man’s belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness.”
Minoru Yamasaki passed away on February 7, 1986 at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer. He did not live to see what he considered to be his life’s masterwork—his “monument to world peace”– crumble to the ground after being struck by two hijacked planes.
When the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001, two-thousand seven hundred and forty three men, women and children perished in the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history. 184 of the victims (6.7 percent) were people of Asian descent:
Alok Agarwal, Mukul Agarwala, Shabir Ahmed, Grace Alegre-Cua, Ceasar A. Alviar, Tariq Amanullah, Kazuhiro Amai, Sien Nya Ang, Seina “David” Aoyama, Michael S. Baksh, Renee Barrett-Arjume, Marlyn C. Bautista, Anil T. Bharvaney, Bella Bhukhan, Cecile M. Caguicla, Swarna Chalasani, Mandy Chang, Alexander H. Chiang, Robert Chin, “Eddie” Wing Wai Ching, Kyung Casey Cho, Abul K. Chowdhury, Mohammed Salahuddin Chowdhury, Pamela Chu, Wai-Ching Chung, Annette Andrea Dataran, Simon Saleman Ali Kassanali Dhanani, Doris Suk-Yuen Eng, Syed Abdul Fatha, Chih Min “Dennis” Foo, Ronald Gamboa, Kum-Kun Girolamo, Kiran Reddy Gopu, Yuji Gouya Ramon Grijalvo, Liming Michael Gu, Yan Z. “Cindy” Guam, Nezan A. Hafiz, Mohammed Salman Hamdani, Frederic Kim Han, Eric Samadikan Hartono, Nobuhiro Hayatsu, Katsuyuki Hirai, Heather Malia Ho, Susan Huie, Taizo Ishikawa, Kazushige Ito, Ricknauth Jaggernauth, Yudh V. Jain, Prem N. Jerath, Hwerdar Jian, Shashi Kiran Kadaba, Joon Koo Kang, Hideya Kawauchi, Sarah Khan, Taimour Firaz Khan, Rajesh Khandelwar, Bhowanie Devi Khemaraj, Sei-Lai Khoo, Satoshi Kikuchihara, Andrew Jay-Hoon Kim, Lawrence Don Kim, Sue Kim-Hanson, Takashi Kinoshita, Bon-Seok Ko, Toshiya Kuge, Shekhar Kumar, Frederick Koo Jr., Nauka Kushitani, Kui “Rapod” Fai Kwoh, Amarnauth Lachman, Ganesh Ladhat, Neil K. Lai, Vinod Lakham, Chow Kwan Lan, Dong Lee, David S. Lee, Hyun-Joo Paul Lee, Linda C. Lee, Myung-Woo Lee, Richard Yun Choo Lee, Soo-Jin Stuart Lee, Yang Der Lee, Ye Wei Liang, Orasri Liangthanasam, Arnold A. Lim, Darya Lin, Wei Rong Lin, Ming-Hao Liu, Manuel L. Lopez, Stuart Louis, William Lum Jr., Takashi Makimoto, Bernard Mascarenhas, Joseph Mathai, Alok Kumar Mehta, Nurul Huq Miah, Shakila Yasmin Miah, Rajesh Mirpuri, Krishna Moorthy, Sanae Mori, Takuya Nakamura, Manika Narula, Narender Nath, Nancy Yuen Ngo, Soichi Nimata, Takashi Ogawa, Toshihiro Onda, Betty Ann Ong, Masaru Ose, Michael Chung Ow, Spc. Chi Sun Pak, Deepa K. Pakkala, Vinod K. Parakat, Nitin Parandkar, Vijayashanher Parasmothy, Haidai Casey Parbhu, Gye-Hyong Park, Hasmukh Chuckula Parmar, Avnish Ramanbhai Patel, Dipti Patel, Manish K. Patel, Carl Allen Peralta, Tu-Ahn Pham, Hermanth Puttur, Ehtesham V. Raja, Vaksa Raju, Vishnov Ramsaroop, Deborah Ramsaur, Srinivas Shreyas Ranganath, Amenia Rasool, Christina Sunga Ryooh, Rahma Salie, Rema Sam-Dimnoo, Maria Theresa Santillan, Kalayan K. Sarkar, Deepika K. Sattahiri, Jayesh Shah, Khalid M. Shahid, Mohammed Shajahan, Shiv Shankar, Neil S. Shastri, Atsushi Shiratori, See-Wong Shum, Masima Hameed Simjee, Khamladai K. Singh, Roshan R. Singh, Astrid Sohan, Sushil Solanki, Daniel W. Song, Saranya Srinuam, Yoichi Sugiyama, Marc David Sullius, Larry Sumaya, Keiichiro Takahashi, Keiji Takahashi, Robert R. Talhami, Maurita Tam, Hector Tamayo, Kenichiro Tanaka, Yeshwant M. Tembe, Goumatie T. Thakurdeen, Haishad Sham Thatte, Mary Ellen Tiesi, Zhanetta Tsoy, Ching Ping Tung, Anil Shivhari Umarkai, Pendyala Vamsikrishna, Gopalakrishnan Varadhan, Samhara S. Velamuri, Ching Hui Wang, Wei Bin Wang, Ssu-Hui Vanessa Wen, Cynthia Motus Wilson, Jennifer Y. Wong, Jenny Seu Keung Low Wong, Siu Cheng Wong, Yin Ping Wong, Yuk Ping Wong, Jupiter Yambem, Suresh Yanamada, Elkin Yuen, Zhe Zack Zeng, Jie Yao Justin Zhao, Ahmed Jahan Zia
The following photo is of a mural honoring Betty Ann Ong, a Chinese American flight attendant who was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001. At 8:19 AM, Ong called the American Airlines Reservations Office from the plane to report a hijacking was in process. For 25 minutes, Ong stayed on the line and calmly relayed important information to operators.