Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

1993 World Trade Center bombing remembered

- By Jennifer Peltz

NEW YORK >> Lolita Jackson was at her 72nd-floor desk in the World Trade Center, feeling like she worked at the top of the world. Then came the boom, and smoke started curling in from an elevator shaft.

Unsure what was happening, she joined thousands of other office workers on a harrowing trek down dark, smoky stairs, emerging onto the scene of a terror attack.

It wasn’t Sept. 11, 2001. This was Feb. 26, 1993, when a deadly bombing killed six people, one of them pregnant, and injured more than 1,000 — becoming a harbinger of terror at the twin towers.

Jackson hopes that Sunday’s 30th anniversar­y serves as a reminder that even though decades have passed since the seismic acts of terrorism in the United States’ most populous city, no one, anywhere, can say the threat of mass violence is over.

She knows that more personally than most: On 9/11, she had to flee the trade center’s south tower again.

“I’m a living testament that it can happen to you, and it can happen to you twice,” Jackson said.

Victims’ relatives, survivors, dignitarie­s and others gathered at the trade center Sunday for a ceremony that included the reading of the names of the six people killed.

The anniversar­y was also being marked at a Mass Sunday at a nearby church and a panel discussion Monday at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

A bell was tolled and a moment of silence held to mark the time of the attack, 12:18 p.m., and victims’ relatives and others laid roses next to their names, which are inscribed on one of the Sept. 11 memorial pools.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were among speakers honoring the lives lost and mourning the loss of innocence in the attack’s wake.

“Today, 30 years later, we still feel the impact of that event,” said Stanley Brezenoff, who survived the bombing as then-head of the government agency that owns the World Trade Center. “The grief we hold for the ones we lost — we feel and share the hurt that the families have felt these many years. That will not change, even years into the future.”

Charlie Maikish, the executive in charge of the World Trade Center at the time, said the bombing was a “wake-up call” and that safety protocols enacted in the aftermath — including evacuation drills, emergency lighting in stairwells and new fire command stations — likely saved thousands of lives on 9/11.

The noontime explosion, set off in a rented van parked in an undergroun­d garage, served notice that Islamic extremists yearned to destroy the trade center’s twin towers. But the public memory of the attack was largely subsumed after 9/11. Even the fountain that memorializ­ed the bombing was crushed in the later attack.

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