By John Montone, 1010 WINS
We must never forget February 26, 1993.
9/11 is part of our national language. It’s mere mention evokes scenes of fire and death. Each and every anniversary has been a solemn occasion on which the names of almost three thousand victims are read. What we sometimes forget is that 21 years ago next Wednesday, six people were killed and more than a thousand injured in the first terror attack on the World Trade Center.
During the noon hour two of the killers drove a rented van into a parking garage below the twin towers. One of them lit a fuse and they ran out fully expecting their 1300-pound homemade bomb to bring the buildings down. They failed, but create a scene of chaos and carnage. Hundreds of people were trapped, choking in smoke-filled stairwells or in stalled elevators or under piles of debris. The bomb blew an enormous hole in the garage. When I visited it the next day I felt numb looking at the bent steel girders and blackened concrete.
As was the case on 9/11 New York’s Finest and Bravest distinguished themselves rushing into the buildings where fires raged for hours. Rushing in without regard for their own safety and leading people outside on a cold, gray day. Among those who survived the bombing were a pregnant woman, an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a a group of visiting school children.
Less than a week later the first of the plotters was arrested. Justice was swift and severe but one of the leaders of the terror group, Ramzi Yousef, left court upon his conviction declaring, “I am a terrorist and proud of it.” Yousef was in court last year asking that some of the restrictions placed on him in prison be lifted because he is no longer a security threat.
The argument against granting his wish has always been this, the memory of his victims:
Monica Rodrigues Smith, 36 years old.
Bob Kirkpatrick, 61 years old.
Bill Macko, 57 years old.
Stephen Knapp, 47 years old.
John Di Giovani, 45 years old.
Wilfredo Mercado, 37 years old.