Delaware based company had 108 employees in the South Tower on 9/11: the sculpture is in honor of all who were affected by the attacks
Pike Creek resident Rama Venkataraman was running 10 minutes late on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, which delayed him from his consultant position at the CSC offices in the World Trade Center’s South Tower.
Accompanied by his wife, who at the time was six months pregnant, Venkataraman was waiting for the second elevator to take him to his 87th floor office when a fellow employee called and told him that there was a fire in the North Tower building, but that the fire police were advising people it was safe to head upstairs.
Then came the explosion as United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the North Tower between the 77th and 85th floor at 9:03 a.m.
“I looked out and saw the glass and bodies falling, and then people came in a rush and knocked my wife down,” Venkataraman said.
Helping his wife to her feet, Venkataraman then worked their way out of the building and onto the last train out to New Jersey before New York Transit Authority shut the city down.
The South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.; the North Tower, 29 minutes at 10:28 a.m.
Venkataraman is one of the 108 CSC employees who made it out alive following the horrific attacks that ended with 2,606 people dead in New York alone.
The Delaware-based business held a ceremony on the 16th anniversary of the attacks, dedicating a sculpture by Pennsylvania artist Steve Tobin “in honor of the extraordinary courage and heroic acts of ordinary people who experienced” the events of 9/11 firsthand.
Called “The Delaware Root,” the 22-foot-high sculpture creates peace sign in shadow on the ground when the sun is at the right angle. It also encompasses the Japanese symbol for “mankind.”
Tobin, who is widely known for donating his sculpture, “The Trinity Root,” to Trinity Church in New York City in recognition of the 9/11 attacks, said that making his sculptures isn’t “rocket science.”
“My background is in theoretical mathematics and physics,” Tobin said. “So a little of that applies.”
In remarks during the ceremony, Sen. Chris Coons said that the fact that 108 CSC employees made it out safely that day was nothing short of a miracle.
“The CSC leadership who didn’t listen to those prerecorded messages to stay at your desks … lead you out to a brighter future,” Coons said.
Recounting the death of her husband, which also occurred in September (unrelated to the attacks), an emotional Lisa Blunt-Rochester, of the US House of Representatives, said she was proud to feel a part of the CSC family that day.
“As I’m looking out at you, I think about the bittersweetness – I’m standing here today as a congresswoman because of something tragic that I didn’t expect to happen,” she said. “(But) a cloud does not put out the sun.”
CSC Chairman of the Board Bruce Wynn recalled being in Houston at the time of the attacks, and immediately making the 24-hour drive back to Delaware.
“When we got the call that everyone was out and safe, it was a moment of great relief,” Wynn said.
The sculpture sits at the center of CSC’s roughly 5 acre campus, along with trails in the south meadow, which are open to the public.
CSC is located at 51 Little Falls Dr., Pike Creek.