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article imageSomber ceremony marks 20th anniversary of ’93 WTC bombing

By Shawn Kay     Feb 27, 2013 in World
New York - City officials and survivors gathered at the 9/11 memorial yesterday in a somber ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist attack.
It was 20 years ago yesterday that six people were killed and 1,000 were injured when terrorists detonated a truck bomb in an underground parking garage at the World Trade Center.
Stephen Knapp, 48, John DiGiovanni, 45, Robert W. Kirkpatrick, 61, William Macko, 57, Wilfredo Mercado, 37, Monica Rodriguez Smith, 34 and her unborn child were all killed in the February 26, 1993, terrorist bombing.
Survivors, emergency first responders, family members of the victims and local dignitaries gathered at the September 11th National Remembrance Memorial at 9/11 Memorial Plaza to mark the grim anniversary with a ceremony that was short, somber and low-key.
The event was also attended by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and David Dinkins, who was the city’s mayor at the time of the bombing.
CBS 2 News reported as little as 50 people in attendance while reported no more than 100 for the mournful ceremony.
The peal of a silver bell rang out at approximately 12:18 p.m., marking the exact moment terrorists claimed six lives with the detonation of their truck bomb on that fateful day.
The names of the six people slain in the attack were read aloud by the families of the victims followed by a moment of silence.
Before the ceremony came to a conclusion, bagpipers from the New York City Police Department played "Amazing Grace."
Long-stemmed white roses were placed at the WTC memorial near the names of the six victims who were killed in the attack 20 years ago.
"Today we stop and remember the six innocent people killed in the World Trade Center attack two decades ago," 9/11 Memorial President and CEO Joe Daniels told the New York Post.
"Like those lost in the 2001 attacks, the memory of each victim will be forever preserved at the Memorial and Museum for future generations. Their lives and the history of February 26, 1993 will never be forgotten."
Even after two decades, it was vividly evident that the passage of time had not fully healed the wounds for all family members of the victims.
“You keep going, but sometimes it feels like just yesterday that it happened,” Stephen Knapp Jr., 38, said to after the ceremony. “It will always be hard.”
Knapp, who lost his father in the bombing and attended the ceremony with his wife Lisa and their two young daughters, struggled with his emotions throughout the event and at one point had to be consoled by Charles Maikish, the former director of the WTC.
The original attack upon the WTC in 1993 was a truck bombing that involved an ad-hoc group of six Islamic extremists, including mastermind Ramzi Yousef.
Yousef had hoped that the truck bomb would cause countless casualties in Manhattan by toppling one of the towers into the other and bringing them down like giant dominos. However, his bomb only succeeded in choking the towers with smoke and knocking out its power. Yousef was reportedly deeply disappointed to see the towers still standing after the bombing.
Yousef and his cohorts were all apprehended and convicted at trial of carrying out the 1993 bombing. All were sentenced to life imprisonment and are currently interned in a maximum security federal prison.
The radical would later tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the attack upon the WTC was in retaliation for the continued support of Israel by the United States.
The failed bid to topple the towers as well as their symbolism of America's commercial and financial prowess, lead Islamic extremists throughout the world to develop an obsession with the World Trade Center and its destruction. That dark vision was realized eight years later when al-Qaida literally razed the entire structure to the ground in a horrific follow up attack on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
On the blog page of the official 9/11 National Remembrance Memorial website, Daniels posted a poignant entry in which he asked the nation as a whole to remember those that were lost in the original WTC attack:
Dear Friends -
I invite you to join the 9/11 Memorial in observing a moment of silence Sunday at 12:18 p.m., the time the World Trade Center was attacked on February 26, 1993. As we come together to remember the events of that day, we also recommit ourselves to condemning the hatred and misunderstanding that led to them.
Nineteen years ago, a group of terrorists detonated explosives in an abandoned van in the public parking garage beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center. This brutal attack killed six innocent people.
We remember them: John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen A. Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado and Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was pregnant when she was killed. Their names are now forever inscribed in bronze on the 9/11 Memorial on panel N-73, among the thousands of names of those killed on 9/11. They remind us that these events are inextricably linked, and of our sacred obligation to never forget those who were killed.
The names of the six victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing on Panel N-73 on the North Side ...
The names of the six victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing on Panel N-73 on the North Side of the memorial's northern reflecting pool of the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan. Stephen Knapp, 48, John DiGiovanni, 45, Robert W. Kirkpatrick, 61, William Macko, 57, Wilfredo Mercado, 37, Monica Rodriguez Smith, 34, were all killed when Islamic extremists detonated a truck bomb at the World Trade Center on the afternoon of February 26, 1993.
More about World trade center, Wtc, September 11, 911, september 11 2001
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