NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A moment of silence was observed at the 9/11 memorial Tuesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
A bell tolled at 12:18 p.m., the time when a truck bomb was detonated below the north tower — killing six people and injuring 1,000 more. Family members then read the names of the victims before bagpipers played “Amazing Grace.”
“Today we stop and remember the six innocent people killed in the World Trade Center attack two decades ago,” 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said. “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 Feb. 26, 1993 will never be forgotten.”
About 50 people attended the ceremony, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor David Dinkins. Among them was Alan Reiss, who was the World Trade Center’s head engineer in 1993.
“It’s personal,” he said. “We want to rebuild this site for those who aren’t here.”
William Macko was killed in the attack. His family attended the ceremony on Tuesday.
“It’s a difficult day, it’s so important to remember my dad and the other people killed,” Michael Macko told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
The sister of victim Stephen Knapp also took part in the memorial ceremony on Tuesday.
“Twenty years later, it’s still like day one because I realize what his family has missed not having him around. He didn’t get to see his grandchildren, they didn’t get to experience the love of a grandfather and their daughter and son did not get to show their father what they achieved in life,” she told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.
Stephen Knapp Jr., struggled with his emotions as he remembered all too well watching and wondering about his father that day, from outside his high school in Hoboken, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
“I saw the helicopters and the smoke and everything,” he said.
Steve Kern, a Port Authority employee, said it took three hours to get down the stairs that day.
“I was in my office on the 68th floor and suddenly all the power went out,” Kern said. “Jeez, am I going to get out of here and see my kids again?”
Jeannine Ali was on the 45th floor at the time of the bombing.
“It was chaotic,” she said in an oral history she recorded for the 9/11 Museum.
After seeing smoke pouring out of the vent, she headed out.
“The stairs were packed. You couldn’t walk down a step until the person in front of you walked down a step. I mean, we were literally back to back to back,” she said, noting that the stairwell had no lights.
Six Islamic extremists were convicted of the bombing. Four were convicted in March 1994 of carrying out the bombing and two others, including mastermind Ramzi Yousef, were convicted in November 1997.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the 1993 attacks “a cowardly act of terror.”
“Our efforts to rebuild at the World Trade Center site demonstrate the strength and resilience of all New Yorkers to the world,” he said.
Following the ceremony, white roses were placed by the six victims’ names. They are inscribed in bronze on the north side of the 9/11 memorial’s north reflecting pool alongside the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, was asked by WCBS 880’s Steve Scott for the Eye on Politics segment whether the bombing was a real wake up call for America about homeland security.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t,” King said. “It should have been but it wasn’t. Looking back at it now, we see this was the first major attack on American soil.”
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But he said not enough people realized how serious it was.
“The case was solved very quickly. It was done in a way where those who carried it out were not as effective as future terrorists were,” he said. “So, too many people, including those in law enforcement and in the government, believed that this was just a group of people who were fanatics and were extremists. But we didn’t realize the global impact, that this was an international movement that was dedicated to destroying the United States.”