A Day to Review . . .

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the World Trade Center was celebrated on April 4, 1973. Two magnificent tube-frame 110-story towers stood overlooking the Hudson.

Like many great feats, the towers didn’t go up easily. It was the culmination of decades of political wrangling and years of laborious construction.

For many, the PATH train is just a means of getting to Manhattan, but its formation played a major role for the creation of the World Trade Center.

Initial plans for the building identified a site along the East River for the World Trade Center. But the bi-state Port Authority could not win support from New Jersey’s Governor Robert B. Meyner, who objected to New York getting the $335 million project,

At one point, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey joined forces and agreed to take over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, which became the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). This joint venture, along with an agreed change of location for the World Trade Center to the west side of lower Manhattan, a far more convenient location for New Jersey PATH commuters, gave way to the rise of the remarkable towers.

The World Trade Center’s North Tower would become the tallest building in the world for two years, pushing the Empire State Building out of first place after its forty-year reign.

Building towers of light in a dark and gloomy world is a daunting task, but a duty we cannot afford to abandon.

A Day to Remember . . . A Day to Reflect . . .

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at 8:46 in the morning, the World Trade Center’s North Tower was hit by a hijacked 767 commercial jet, fully loaded with fuel for a transcontinental flight. Sixteen minutes later, at 9:02 AM, the South Tower was hit by a similar jet.

But the worst was still to come. Soon thereafter the Twin Towers collapsed into a smoking heap of twisted steel and debris. Buried beneath the rubble were 2,753 innocent people. Thousands of families were left grieving for their loved ones. Forever wounded were the citizens of United States of America and the civilized world.

A decade has passed, with shoe bombers, underwear bombers, and mail bombers attempting to thwart us. Our naivete has vanished, but we have yet to discover security and calm. Our elected officials and public servants dedicate timeless efforts to better our safety. But there is an important contribution of the ordinary citizen of the world.

A world shrouded in darkness calls for a greater intensity of light, brightness that each one of us creates around ourselves.

A Day to Respond . . .

Just seventeen months after the World Trade Center’s official unveiling, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, addressed a group of Jewish women.

It was at this venue, the women’s convention, that the Rebbe launched a new campaign encouraging Jewish women and girls to fulfill the ancient Jewish tradition of lighting the Sabbath and Jewish holiday candles.

In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, the Rebbe continued to encourage women and girls to light candles and inspire others to do the same.

The Rebbe declared:

Particularly in these times, there is a great need to illuminate the darkness in our world. We see wild events and wild behaviors taking place in the world around us, events that have never before transpired, and which stem from utter darkness.

It’s because of this that wherever a person may end up, he or she has to light a lamp, a spiritual lamp, or at least a candle, or even a little flame, to illuminate that darkness.

Everything must begin at home. So no matter how bright your personal home was until now, make it brighter yet, and ensure that this light be a light connected in a very fundamental way to the light of Judaism.

Incredibly, the day the Rebbe inaugurated this campaign of the world’s coalition of light was September 11, 1974.