About 100 mourners gathered at the World Trade Center site at 12:18pm on February 26, 2013, exactly 20 years after their lives were forever changed by the bombing of 1993.
On Friday, February 26, 1993, six radical Islamic terrorists detonated a 1,500-pound nitrate bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center, murdering John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen A. Knapp, Bill Macko, Wilfredo Mercado, Monica Rodriguez Smith and her unborn son, and injuring more than 1,000 people.
Families of the victims and survivors and rescue workers there on the day of the bombing remembered those lost with a memorial Mass and a ceremony with music, roses, and the reading of the names. In a place of honor at the annual memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Church was the only surviving piece of the memorial fountain, a six-inch fragment of rose-colored granite bearing the name “John”. The memorial fountain was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The memorial read (in part): “On February 26, 1993, a bomb set by terrorists exploded below this site. This horrible act of violence killed innocent people, injured thousands, and made victims of us all.”
Rudy Hohenfeld, who worked in the World Trade Center during the 1993 attack, shared, “My ability to recall fifteen years of service at the World Trade Center, and the special relationship that Steve, Bill, Monica, Bob and I shared for many of those years under sometimes adverse conditions, has caused me to remember them with great fondness and oftentimes smile when thinking about some of the crazy events that we experienced. And it was always with eager anticipation that I looked forward to the ceremonies held each February 26th, knowing that I would be in the company of other World Trade Center family members remembering and honoring our lost. More importantly, our gathering each year has been to show both support to the six families, as well as to demonstrate that we haven’t, nor will we forget.”
Rudy continues, “Somewhere along the line, the Tribute Center allowed me to sneak in under the radar, interact with tour visitors from around the world, and buttonhole them with the story of February 26th, and the loss of Steve, Bill, Bob, and Monica. It should be noted that the memories of both John and Wilfredo as well as those Port Authority family members lost on 9/11 are likewise spoken about on each tour. And so, to the families of those lost on February 26th, know that Rudy’s on the job many Sundays, remembering your loved ones to the general public and reminding them that they too are now members of our family and to hold those lost on both February 26th as well as 9/11 dear in their hearts.”