NEW YORK — Two decades after the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, survivors and families of the six people killed gathered at ground zero on Tuesday to commemorate their loss.
They were joined at the Sept. 11 memorial by first responders and dignitaries, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for a short, somber ceremony marking the moment on Feb. 26, 1993, when a truck bomb blew up in a parking garage under the north tower.
For Stephen Knapp, 38, of Staten Island, who lost his father in the bombing, standing at the site of the World Trade Center Tuesday flooded him with memories.
“With him working here and dying here … it always takes me back to being a little kid,” said Knapp, who was 18 and in school when his father, Stephen Knapp, who was chief mechanical supervisor for the World Trade Center, died.
At the memorial, where the north tower once stood, the peal of a silver bell rang out at 12:18 p.m. EST, the time of the explosion.
The names of those who died — John DiGiovanni, Monica Rodriguez Smith, Stephen Knapp, Robert Kirkpatrick, William Mercado and William Macko — were read aloud at the ceremony by Knapp and Michael Macko, whose father perished in the blast.
The ceremony also was attended by David Dinkins, mayor at the time of the attack.
The ceremony was short, but the pain of the past two decades weighed heavily on the families of the victims, who clutched white roses that would later blanket the names of the victims written on the memorial.
Tuesday, Knapp brought along his own children, ages 4 and 6. While they were still too young to appreciate what happened, Knapp said he plans to continue teaching them about it.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be a lesson to them about what this world can be like and the horrors in it. But we can let them know their grandfather’s death wound up helping thousands of people in the future,” Knapp said, referring to the evacuation plans for the World Trade Center that were revamped after the 1993 bombing. “On Sept. 11, they were saved because of what happened to him. It shows what good can happen as well.”
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