The First World Trade Center Attack, 25 Years Later

Before the ceremony, flowers wait to be placed on the engraved names honoring those who died in the 1993 bombing. (Taylor Romine/NY City Lens)

On a windy Monday afternoon, bundled crowds, decorated police officers, and city officials gathered around the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the one that was a prologue to the massive attack of September 11, 2001.

The overcast sky and the grey-toned palette of the monument itself stood in contrast to the brightly colored roses that were placed on the monument, which is dedicated to the six people and the unborn child who died during the bombing. Police officers chattered with each other and family and survivors greeted one another as old friends. But when the bagpipes started playing and the ceremony began, the crowd quickly turned somber.

“We stand with the families and friends over their shared grief,” said Alice Greenwald, president of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. She noted that many of the victims who usually observe the event privately came out for the special anniversary.

Relativesof the dead and survivors of the bombing sit in silence. (Taylor Romine/NY City Lens)

On February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the basement of the World Trade Center, killing those six people and the unborn child, and injuring 1,000 others. The bomb made a crater half the size of a football field and filled the building with smoke and ash. The incident left the World Trade Center out of commission for three months, while 4,000 people from various government departments and labor unions restored the building. Eight years later, the 9/11 terrorist attack destroyed the World Trade Center.

Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, apologized to the crowd for being unprepared for the attack. “We were not ready for what visited us in that day,” O’Toole said. “America wasn’t ready.”

Police officers salute during the national anthem. (Taylor Romine/NY City Lens)

Many of the speakers alluded to the current state of terrorism awareness in New York City. Today’s ceremony follows two terrorist attacks in the last year—the first on October 31, 2017, when a pick-up truck driven by a man named Sayfullo Saipov hit a crowd of people, killing eight and injuring eleven. The second was on December 11,  an attempt to set off a pipe bomb in a tunnel between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Times Square subway station, which was unsuccessful. 

The ceremony concluded with family members of the deceased and survivors of the attack placing the flowers on the ledge engraved with the names of those who died. After they finished, members of the public joined in, celebrating the lives lost 25 years ago.