30 Years Ago Came the 'Powder Keg' for 9/11

Sunday is the anniversary of the first World Trade Center terrorist attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2023 9:05 AM CST
30 Years Ago Came the 'Powder Keg' for 9/11
New York City police and firefighters inspect the bomb crater inside an underground parking garage of New York's World Trade Center on Feb. 27, 1993, the day after an explosion tore through it. Thirty years after terrorism first struck the World Trade Center, victims' relatives and survivors are gathering...   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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 into 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, per the AP.

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.” Victims' relatives, survivors, dignitaries, and others are set to gather at the trade center Sunday for a ceremony that will include the reading of the names of the six people killed in the 1993 bombing.

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 on Sept. 11. For some survivors and victims' relatives, the '93 attack still echoes as a warning that was unheeded, a loss that feels overlooked, and a lesson that still needs learning. “The '93 World Trade Center bombing was the powder keg for the 9/11 attacks,” said Andrew Colabella, a cousin of bombing victim John DiGiovanni. Colabella feels the earlier attack is largely remembered as “a blip,” rather than a siren, in the history of international terror. Read the full story.

(More World Trade Center stories.)

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