annually, on the anniversary of the terrible events of 9/11, i share this post to remember Giann F. Gamboa, who tragically lost his life in the World Trade Center on that tragic day. this remembrance is part of project 2.996, a collection of stories and blog posts about the people who were killed that day.
in addition to Giann's story, i wanted to share a message that i received from one of his close friends, Rich Costa.
Thanks so much for doing this for Giann. He was a special man and like a son to me. Although he did not work for Windows on the World in the North Tower, (but rather the Top of the World Observation Deck in the South Tower), I am told he did get off of an elevator on the 78th floor of the South tower to let others leave. While waiting for the next elevator, the second plane struck.
It is good to know he is up there watching us.
as a manager at the windows on the world restaurant atop the north tower of the world trade center, Giann was among 73 employees who died in the collapse of the tower. ( Mr. Costa has corrected me that Giann actually worked at the South Tower Observation Deck.)
Giann was one of the countless heroes that terrible day - thinking of someone more frightened and more fragile than himself when he gave his employee his spot in the elevator.
in the years since I originally posted a tribute to Giann, people have continued to share their memories from near and far. this spring, a beautiful young lady named Gaby Gamboa posted her own tribute to Giann. Gaby is Giann's sister. here is her tribute to a brother she obviously loves very much.
June 06, 2009
Giann is my brother, and he was my best friend too, every day I remember all the things I used to do with him when he came to Ecuador, Giann was the most important person in my life and my big pride, I miss him a lot... I am grateful to all hes friends especially Rich Costa, because I know how my brother appreciated you.
Gaby Gamboa Ambato, Equador
just this week, a cousin of Giann's posted her thoughts on the man
she never got a chance to know.
September 10, 2009
Even though i did not know Giann F. Gamboa I just found out he had died and was apart of my mom's side the family and i just turned 12,i really never knew him our really seen him i was only little but i will regret it for the rest of my life i hope that i will see him in the after life my god take care of you and my the lord bless you with all his might i wish you luck up there i will always remember you for the rest of my life love ur distant cousin xoxo <3
Krystal Penafiel, Miami, Florida
gaby and crystal, if you ever read this, i am so sorry for your loss.
here are some comments about giann that were left in internet guestbooks in the months and years following 9/11/2001.
Giann, You were a great co-worker with a heart of gold. One significant thing I remember about you was your (Smile) For his smile could brighten up anyone's day. May God continue to watch over your soul for eternalty.
Terry Edwards (Queens, NY)
How I miss you Giann. You took my spot to manage that Observation Deck and you learned the ropes. I always remember your battle cry (Uhyuuhhuhh!!!) echo through the core from the 107 to the 110 floors. We spent alot of time together, and we had plans to open the best eating place in NY. You will always remain the strong, kind and wonderful person that I will always remember. We helped each other many times, even that last Friday. If you did get to Ecuador that week, I bet you would have been made El Presidente!! God keep you. I miss you, hermano.
Giann worked for me when I was GM of the Observation Deck. He was the best. He was both a hard worker and a really nice and kind person. When ever things got tense, he would tell me "Rich, relax". I try to imagine him telling me that know as I worry that he is ok. He did not really get into religion until after I left to become a theology teacher. We had a great relationship, but I wish we could have had some talks about what became his passion. I have two sons, and I would be honored if they turned out like Giann. I miss him so much.
here is a photo of giann's church friends, desperate to find word on their missing friend.
Jenny Mosquera, Claudia Marmolejo and Margerie Cuartas hold a picture of their friend and church member Giann Gamboa who worked at Windows on the World Restaurant on the 107th floor and is now missing.
(Newsday /Bruce Gilbert)
Copyright © 2006, Newsday, Inc.
i couldn't find a lot of information on Giann. i was able to glean that he was probably born in equador, south america. i imagine that he was an immigrant to this country, full of homes and dreams of a better life. with his job, his friends and girlfriend, and his church, it sounds as though he had found that.
Giann Gamboa was only 26 years old on that day in september. his dreams were only beginning to come true. it make me so angry that his life was extiguished in such a terrible way.
from the ashes of the wtc and windows on the world come a glimmer of hope. proof that life does go on - proof that lower manhattan is still alive and that they will never forget those who were lost. the surviving employees of the windows on the world who, by fate or luck or chance, were not at work that crisp morning, have opened a co-operative restaurant called Colors. you can read about the genesis of the restaurant here.
i am so sorry that this happened to you, Giann. i honor you and the others who died on 9/11. you may not have been known by many, but i will never, ever forget you.