I am kicking off 24-hour 9/11 anniversary coverage today with my entry for the 2,996 Project.
As I mentioned last month, the project launched by D.C. Roe involves more than 3,000 bloggers who have joined together to commemorate each and every one of the victims of 9/11 on this fifth anniversary.
I am participant number 2290 and my honoree is Giovanna Porras.
Ms. Porras was 24 years old and worked for General Telecom. She was last seen alive on the 83rd floor, World Trade Center, Tower One. Here’s how the NYTimes profiled her:
Giovanna Porras realized many of her dreams this year. In January she received an associate accounting degree from Baruch College, and six months ago she landed an accounting job at General Telecom.
Ms. Porras, 24, lived in Queens with her mother and was proud to be working at the famous World Trade Center, said her older sister, Roxana Batista. Ms. Porras planned to study for her C.P.A. degree in a few months and was sticking to her diet by working out.
“She was just a happy, cheerful person,” Ms. Batista said, the type who was there for everyone. She was like a second mother to her nephews and pulled for her boyfriend, Demetrios Xanthopoulos, at softball games. Mr. Xanthopoulos, also an accountant, said Ms. Porras pushed him to do his best.
She was the kind of young woman who was as comfortable escorting her mother, Adela Romero, around town as she was nightclub-hopping with her friends. “There was not one person in the world she wouldn’t get along with,” Mr. Xanthopoulos said.
Adela Romero of South Ozone Park left her native Peru to escape the terrorism there 10 years after her first daughter, Giovanna Porras, was born in Lima. Adela, Giovanna and Giovanna’s sister, Roxanna, settled in Richmond Hill, Queens, and later moved to South Ozone Park.
It was in Queens that Giovanna, 24, excelled in school, and graduated with honors from John Adams High School in South Ozone Park in 1995, said her aunt Ruth Romero. “She always tried to do her best,” her mother added. Giovanna graduated from Baruch College in Manhattan with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting in March. “Giovanna was the first one in our family to graduate from college,” said cousin Denisse Arrunategui. “Everyone was proud.”
An accountant for General Telecomm on the 83rd floor of Tower One, Giovanna Porras was last heard from in a voicemail message that she left for her boyfriend, James Xantopolous, in which she said she had felt the impact from the first plane hitting the building, and that she was trapped.
Her aunt said that along with destroying the Twin Towers, the attacks on Sept. 11 destroyed her niece’s hopes. “Giovanna was planning to go to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in accounting,” her aunt said. “It’s sad because she never got to realize her dreams. She had so many plans. The buildings can be rebuilt, but you can never get back those lives.”
These message boards set up online in the immediate aftermath of the attacks always make my heart hurt. Here was an entry from a friend of Ms. Porras’s:
Friends and love ones looking for Giovanna Porras WTC Tower 1 83rd Floor. Please email any information possible.
By WG 93 friend ( – 22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 – 10:14 pm
Ms. Porras was the epitome of the American Dream. Living the life she wanted. Exercising the freedoms the jihadis live to snuff out. I will not forget her.
Who are you remembering today?
Poster exhibit of 9/11 victims via Moussaoui trial exhibits (click photo twice for hi-res larger image)