New York City marks 20th anniversary of WTC bombing

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Leonard Greene @ The New York Post:

The names of the six people killed in the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center.

They were killed by evil terrorists who targeted an iconic piece of New York. They were the first, and they were the forgotten.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the day a terrorist bomb blew out a World Trade Center parking lot and killed six victims and injured more than 1,000 people.

A noontime ceremony is planned to honor those killed.

The attack was the first dramatic demonstration that “terrorism is theater and New York is the biggest stage,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The ceremony was being held at the 9/11 memorial that honors more than 2,700 people who died in the 2001 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

A moment of silence will be observed at 12:18 p.m., the time when a truck bomb was detonated below the north tower.

The blast, which happened Feb. 26, 1993, has been largely overshadowed by the 9/11 attack more than eight years later.

But the families who suffered in 1993 say they lost just as much, even if hardly anyone remembers.

“Names get read every year and the whole country watches,” said Denise Rossilli, whose father, Steve Knapp was killed that day along with John DiGiovanni, 45, Robert W. Kirkpatrick, 61, William Macko, 57, Wilfredo Mercado, 37 and Monica Rodriguez Smith, 34.

“We don’t get the same honor for our dead,” Rosilli said. “We are treated differently because we are not part of 9/11.”

Mementos commemorating that tragedy will be part of the new World Trade Center Museum scheduled to open next year, including a fragment from a granite memorial fountain that was destroyed in the subsequent attack.

The fountain, inscribed with the names of the men and women killed in 1993, sat in an alcove between the north tower and the Marriott Hotel and was destroyed on 9/11.

The partial name of one of the six victims is discernible: John DiGiovanni, a dental equipment salesman from Valley Stream who was leaving the parking garage for a meeting in the World Trade Center when the bomb went off nearby.

But no artifact is more moving than the one left behind by Walter Travers, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee who escaped the North Tower through a smoke-filled staircase five hours after a truck bomb shattered the garage in 1993.

When he finally got to his New Jersey home, he hung his stained, white button-down shirt in the closet, and never wore it again. On 9/11 Travers, 44, was working in the same skyscraper when a hijacked plane hit the tower below the 104th floor where he worked.

He never made it out. After Travers’ death, his wife discovered the shirt from 1993, still covered with soot.

“Clearly, Wally had kept the shirt as a memento of that experience,” said Alice Greenwald, director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. “He kept it as it was.”

Yvette Mercado-Rehm was just 10 when her father, Wilfredo Mercado, was killed in the blast.

“The loss to me is as same as anybody lost in 9/11,” she said.

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Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

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