20th anniversary of World Trade Center bombing; Bayonne man among victims

The Jersey Journal

Before the “world changed forever” on September 11, 2001, the world changed a great deal on February 26, 1993, when a truck carrying 1,200 pounds of explosives was detonated in the basement parking garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

The twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and the Vista Hotel, shown in this February 27, 1993, file photo, the day after an underground explosion rocked the complex on Feb. 26, 1993. File Photo

The twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center and the Vista Hotel, shown in this February 27, 1993, file photo, the day after an underground explosion rocked the complex on Feb. 26, 1993. File Photo

Six people, one of them a Bayonne man, and an unborn child were killed in the terrorist attack that was hatched in Jersey City. More than 1,000 people were injured.

Ramzi Yousef, the so-called mastermind of the plot, lived in Jersey City; and the attack was partly financed by Yousef’s uncle, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who also lived and taught at mosques in Jersey City. Six conspirators were eventually convicted of the bombing.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the Port Authority will commemorate the tragic event with a solemn tribute to the victims of the attack.

As has been the tradition for 20 years, a Catholic Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. in memory of those killed.

Following the Mass, a moment of silence will be held at 12:18 p.m. near the North Pool on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, followed by a reading of the names of the victims.

Four Port Authority employees were killed in the attack, including 47-year-old assistant chief mechanical supervisor Bill Macko, who lived in Bayonne.

The other three Port Authority workers killed were 61-year-old senior structural maintenance supervisor Robert Kirkpatrick, 48-year-old chief maintenance supervisor Stephen Knapp, and 35-year-old Monica Smith, a pregnant secretary who was scheduled to begin maternity leave the next day.

Also killed in the attack were 45-year-old John DiGiovanni, a dental products salesman who had parked in the underground parking garage, and 37-year-old Wilfredo Mercado, a receiving agent for the Windows on the World Restaurant.

A granite memorial fountain honoring the victims was dedicated in 1995 on the Austin J. Tobin Plaza, directly above the site of the explosion. The fountain was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center site, but the six victims are now memorialized on the granite [sic - bronze] parapets of the North Pool on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza.

The Port Authority will present today a plaque to family members honoring those who died in the 1993 WTC bombing. The agency will locate the plaque in the Port Authority’s new headquarters in Tower 4 when the building opens.

“This tragic event in which six people were senselessly murdered is a day that will be forever etched in the memories of all Port Authority staff,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “It is fitting that, as time goes on, we continue to stop and reflect on this terrible tragedy and the lives that were needlessly lost.”

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