By KAITLYN MEADE |
The water was loud and the wind sent fine spray from the North Memorial pool over the assembled crowd, with no trace of the memorial fountain that originally marked the spot of the World Trade Center terrorist attack — not on Sept. 11th, but 20 years ago today. The crowd included family members of the six victims and one unborn child killed in the 1993 parking garage bombing, who laid flowers on the new memorial pool into which their relatives’ names are engraved along with those lost in 9/11.
A Catholic Mass was held in St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church at Barclay and Church Sts. near the World Trade Center. The Port Authority also commemorated the victims at the 9/11 Memorial with a moment of silence at 12:18 p.m., the time when the explosives detonated, followed by a reading of the victims’ names.
“I think it’s important that people remember that that 9/11 began on Feb. 26, 1993,” Michael Macko, 48, whose father was killed in the attack, said immediately after the ceremony. “The most important thing is that my father and the other fallen people are remembered.”
Michael, one of William Macko’s four children, said it’s still shocking to consider the event, even 20 years later. William, 57, was a mechanical supervisor and one of four employees of the Port Authority killed that day. The other employees were Bob Kirkpatrick, 61, Stephen Knapp, 47, and 35-year-old Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was Macko’s secretary and due to start her maternity leave the next day.
Also killed were Wilfredo Mercado, 37, and John DiGiovanni, 45, a dental salesman who was in the garage when the bomb exploded. More than 1,000 people were injured and the buildings took 11 hours to evacuate after the blast under the North Tower ripped a hole five stories deep.
“It was devastating,” said Macko, who was 29 when he lost his father. “We didn’t find out until a day later,” he said.
The Family Tribute to William on the Memorial’s website says, “He left one Friday morning to go to his job and never returned home. We never expected this to happen, especially to our family. It was a loss that has left a scar on all of us.”
In 1994, four men were convicted of the attacks and two more, mastermind Ramzi Yousef and the truck’s driver Eyad Ismoil were convicted in 1997.
A rose granite memorial with the six names was erected in 1995 but was almost completely destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attacks. The only piece recovered was a fragment of the name John DiGiovanni.
This year, the Port Authority presented a plaque to the 1993 victims’ family members which will be moved to the P.A.’s 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,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said in a statement. “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.”