The over 300 World Trade Centers around the earth join in the remembrances of the terrible events of a decade ago. The attacks, directed against the headquarter buildings of our World Trade Centers Association, were deliberately focused on striking a crushing blow against a key actual (and symbolic) pillar of the U.S.—and international—economy. We at World Trade Center Utah extend our thoughts and prayers for the thousands lost that tragic day in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Part of the irony of the attack being directed specifically against the World Trade Center headquarters was that the longtime motto of the World Trade Center Association has been: “Peace and Posterity Through Trade.” When peoples and nations increase their trade with each other, the atmosphere for peaceful relationships is significantly enhanced for everyone.
We all are likely reflecting on our memories of that sad day ten years ago. Please forgive my personal reminiscences, but I will not forget the pure coincidence of leaving a very beautiful Washington, D.C. early that September morning in 2001 and traveling up to New York City on the Acela Express Train for meetings that afternoon on Wall Street. Just as our train was barreling through New Jersey, shortly after 8 a.m., we all looked out to see the distressing sight across the Hudson River of smoke coming from one of the WTC towers, and then suddenly, a large burst of smoke and flames from the second tower. By the time we emerged from a frantic Penn Station in Manhattan, the world had turned upside down. With stunned silence, my colleagues and I joined a large crowd gathered on a traffic-deserted 5th Avenue to watch the first WTC tower collapse like a pancake. After a long and frantic day of sorrow and confusion in Manhattan, I was fortunate enough to catch apparently the only train back to Washington that night—there to be confronted by the smoke and chaos of D.C. under siege for the next several days. It was time of serious introspection for all of us.
From that 9/11 experience, my D.C. business partners at the time agreed that one of our primary aims going forth would be to find increased ways to build international harmony by more projects focused not just on profitability, but also on enhancing personal relationships and expanding peaceable trade around the world. Toward that goal, Gov. Jon Huntsman and Lt. Governor (now Governor) Gary Herbert deliberately commenced operations of the World Trade Center Utah on the fifth anniversary, September 11, 2006, of that unforgettable day to honor those whose sacrifices allowed us to enjoy our freedoms today.
Part of our honoring them includes our mission to expand economic development, increase international understanding and focus Utah on becoming more globally engaged. In the midst of this time of remembrance, World Trade Center Utah on its fifth birthday commits itself to continue this legacy of service to our state, nation and the world.