Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April 4

On 4 April 1973, Minoru Yamasaki, the chief architect of New York's World Trade Center, dedicated the site with the following words:
I feel this way about it. 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. ... [B]eyond 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.
Several years earlier, as the towers were on their way toward their final height at over 100 stories and 1300 feet, sportswriter Roger Kahn described the project in words that now seem agonizingly prophetic. "Wind was slamming across the Hudson," he wrote, "blowing bits of debris from unfinished floors. Four thousand men had been working for two years, and the sprawling site had acquired the scarred desolation that comes with construction or with aerial bombardment."

Ten years after the dedication of the World Trade Center, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its first voyage. The highlight of the trip -- which had been delayed for two months by mechanical failures and weather -- was a four-hour spacewalk by Story Musgrave and Donald Peterson, whose suits cost more than $2 million apiece. Time magazine described the astronauts as being "a thin wire from eternity."