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Twenty years ago, on February 26, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in the garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing six people and an unborn child. More than 1,000 were injured.

The memorial that commemorated the lost lives was destroyed on September 11, 2001. During the rescue and recovery effort, Port Authority police discovered a fragment of the original memorial. It is now part of the permanent collection of the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The attack was planned by a group of conspirators including Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmad Ajaj. They received financing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Yousef's uncle. In March 1994, four men were convicted of carrying out the bombing: Abouhalima, Ajaj, Ayyad and Salameh. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property and interstate transportation of explosives. In November 1997, two more were convicted: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the bombings, and Eyad Ismoil, who drove the truck carrying the bomb.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (58 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
My uncle, who was a structural engineer working on the aftermath of that incident, told me that they came very close to bringing down the building at that time. Apparently the amount of explosives was enough, but the placement was not optimal for damaging the support structure.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:09 AM on February 26, 2013


I was selling newspaper subscriptions that day, door-to-door, to people on my paper route that didn't get the paper. One of them invited me inside. This story was on their television. I remember rather clearly the news footage of people leaving the area. I think it was snowing. Maybe not though.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:10 AM on February 26, 2013


Does one have to be born to be killed? I haven't typically seen the unborn counted in any official death tolls for this event - or any event for that matter.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:12 AM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I remember this! I was going to Stuyvesant High School at the time. Smoke started pouring out of the World Trade Center (right across the street), and everyone in my German class rushed to the windows to look. The only person who was calm was my German teacher, a very focused man. Hilariously, he kept saying "Bitte setzen sie sich. There is nothing to look at; I am sure that everything is under control."

I heard that he later became principal after I graduated, so I guess the moral is... that people who can tune out massive explosions tend to rise to the top?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:12 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it was snowing.

It was snowing.


My dad worked across the street from WTC at the time, and I have a very vivid memory of waiting up late in the night for him to get home.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


The more I learn about Yousef, the more I think that 9/11 was truly the result of massive oversight of US intelligence. Yousef was obsessed with taking down the WTC and bombing planes. He and KSM had drawn up plans to crash planes into the CIA headquarters and the US discovered these plans after a raid in 1995. The FAA was warned, but no policies were changed.
posted by mattbucher at 7:21 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I recall listening to the live coverage on the radio. A reporter shouted to the mayor something to the effect of, "Do you expect them to try again?," during his press conference. There was no response from the mayor to that question. Of the reporter, I said to mysef, "Asshole!".

The memory gave me chills some 10+ years ago.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 7:23 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I remember this vividly. I had come down to NYC for a few days, on a road trip from Toronto with my Norwegian friend from film school.
We had just left the Washington Square Hotel and were heading out of the city in my shitty Suzuki when clusters of emergency vehichles started speeding past us, sirens and lights blaring, going the other way down the FDR. We turned on the radio to see if we could figure out what was going on and it didn't take long to hear the breaking news. It was a while before anyone knew what the fuck was going on, though. By the time we got back to Toronto it was all over the news.
posted by chococat at 7:25 AM on February 26, 2013


Huh. I was at Adam's house after school. We were both annoyed that none of the broadcast channels where airing so we couldn't watch cartoons.

Then we went outside to play and I promptly forgot about it before it for almost a decade.
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember this because it happened on my birthday. At the time NYC was so far away even though it was only four hours by car. I remember that I was watching the video and the snow, and was sad that something tragic happened on my birthday.

Then like the Whelk I mostly forgot about it until the memory came raging back almost a decade later.
posted by sweetkid at 7:28 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dad was there, 93rd floor. His fax machine was working for some reason and he called the local news station to find out what was going on and crack jokes. They walked down the stairs in the dark.

We thought it was bad news when his company went out of business in 1997 and he had to leave is office with its view looking down on the Statue of Liberty.
posted by shothotbot at 7:30 AM on February 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


The only thing I remember about is was a weird cartoon Cmedy Central started airing durning commercial breaks a little while after, something about "I didn't make that bomb!"

Does anyone else remember that? Or did I imagine it?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:32 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't remember it but watched a lot of Comedy Central at the time...now I'm racking my brain trying to remember.
posted by sweetkid at 7:36 AM on February 26, 2013


I think it was snowing.

Yes, it was definitely snowing lightly. I watched the scene from across the river on the Brooklyn Heights promenade, not too far from my job on Livingston St. From what I remember, it was close to midnight before I got home to the Bronx after work that day.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:38 AM on February 26, 2013


sweetkid: "I remember this because it happened on my birthday."

Happy birthday!
posted by chavenet at 7:40 AM on February 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Happy birthday!

thanks!
posted by sweetkid at 7:50 AM on February 26, 2013


I was also on one of the upper floors at Stuyvesant, in my discrete math class doing something incomprehensible with matrices. There was a huge sound like someone on the floor above us dropped a piano from several feet in the air, and we started looking out of the window at smoke pouring out of WTC. The teacher told us to sit down until he saw what was happening outside.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2013


Does one have to be born to be killed? I haven't typically seen the unborn counted in any official death tolls for this event - or any event for that matter.

I would tend to focus on the six born people who were no longer undead.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:54 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember this, of course. It was in the time that I visited New York frequently. I was shocked, but what I remember most was how New Yorkers just carried on and it was hardly a matter of conversation three months later when I was there. New Yorkers not giving a fuck, that was truly an inspiration.
posted by ouke at 7:55 AM on February 26, 2013


IvoShandor, Monica Rodriguez Smith was actually on her last day of work before maternity leave (she was 7 months pregnant) on February 26. The official Port Authority list includes her unborn son, Eddie, which is why I included it in the OP.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:57 AM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Does one have to be born to be killed? I haven't typically seen the unborn counted in any official death tolls for this event - or any event for that matter.

Currently, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws. The states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. At least 23 states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy ("any state of gestation," "conception," "fertilization" or "post-fertilization").

(source: National Conference of State Legislatures)
posted by DWRoelands at 8:05 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised at how not big a deal this seems in my memory, especially in light of the fact that people died, and that so many were injured. My mom was working around Midtown that day and that was far enough for it not to really register on her pretty acutely-tuned panic meter, apparently.
posted by invitapriore at 8:07 AM on February 26, 2013


Granted I was a few days short of seven years old, so blissful ignorance may have had something to do with it, but I don't remember anyone around me reacting very strongly to the event.
posted by invitapriore at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2013


There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001). They both happened in the year of the snake. The next snake year is 2013.
posted by stbalbach at 8:09 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was working in an office on Water Street (about 10 blocks away) and living with a guy who was a bike messenger; his subway to work took him right under the Twin Towers. I was briefly freaking out that "omigod he was underground right when this hit"; then I found out he'd slept late and was an hour late to work.

...Strangely, I don't think this kept me from being annoyed he'd slept late.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 AM on February 26, 2013


The only thing I remember about is was a weird cartoon Cmedy Central started airing durning commercial breaks a little while after, something about "I didn't make that bomb!"

There was a rap on Comedy Central called "Mohammed Salameh" with the memorable lines: "What went wrong / What, what was it? / Why did I go back for the deposit?" Parodying the fact that convicted perpetrator Mohammed Salameh was arrested when he went back to pick up the deposit on the rented Ryder van used in the bombing. I can't find much reference to it on the Web (!?) but could that be it?
posted by The Bellman at 8:24 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001). They both happened in the year of the snake.

Uh. No.
posted by pooya at 8:26 AM on February 26, 2013 [11 favorites]



There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001). They both happened in the year of the snake. The next snake year is 2013.


This sounds ominous until you realize there is no more World Trade Center to attack :/
posted by sweetkid at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2013


Elementary Penguin: The only thing I remember about is was a weird cartoon Cmedy Central started airing durning commercial breaks a little while after, something about "I didn't make that bomb!"

Does anyone else remember that? Or did I imagine it?


You did not imagine it. Comedy Central used to do goofy little 30-second videos about topical events (they did another one about Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco) set to popular music. For the WTC bombing, Comedy Central turned its sights to Mohammed Salameh, the driver of the Ryder van containing the explosives. After the attack, Salameh reported that his rental van had been stolen, and reportedly called Ryder four or five times to demand the return of his $400 deposit. The FBI sent an undercover agent posing as a Ryder loss prevention specialist to meet with Salameh, matched the VIN number of the van Salameh rented with the VIN number of the van used in the attack, picked at the holes in Salameh's timeline, and arrested him.

Some little sprite at Comedy Central found this story hilarious, and wrote a rap song, set to a sample of "Genius of Love" by the Tom Tom Club, in which Mohammed Salameh insists that all he did was rent a van and try to get his money back. It was a dumbass, vaguely racist song, but thanks to the presence of "Genius of Love," it was a freaking earworm. And CC played it all the damn time. You'd be just trying to watch Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and then, for the rest of the day, it was "nanananana/I didn't make that bomb!/nanananana/I didn't make that bomb!"

(This has been bakerina, your guide to the World of Facts.)

On preview: What The Bellman said.
posted by bakerina at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001).

For sufficiently large values of 8...
posted by DigDoug at 8:40 AM on February 26, 2013 [24 favorites]


Oh man, don't get me started.

I remember when this bombing happened. It nearly created an early 9/11 disaster. It seems as though it was downplayed in the press. Why wasn't everyone in panic?

It turns out that Clinton's terrrorist czar (National Coordinator for Security) Richard Clarke was concerned and was trying to increase US security. When Bush took office he tried to warn Condeleeza Rice about the dangers. Instead Richard Clarke was fired. Bush was more interested in finding excuses to attack Iraq.
posted by eye of newt at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was eating a Campus Special at the Old World Delicatessen in Binghamton NY. It was freezing fucking cold. It was so cold, and that sandwich was so big, and I was so broke, and the TV reports were so compelling I stayed in there for several hours, and missed my History of AIDS class.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2013


For sufficiently large values of 8...

You mean, "for sufficiently small values of '12'."
posted by The Bellman at 8:43 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes! Thanks, bakerina and The Bellman!

bakerina and The Bellman, airing this fall on USA
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


This sounds ominous until you realize there is no more World Trade Center to attack :/

Or that there isn't a 12 year gap between 1993 and 2001.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:51 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


But both are prime numbers, so watch out 2013!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2013



Or that there isn't a 12 year gap between 1993 and 2001.


yes, this too.
posted by sweetkid at 8:59 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The part of Brooklyn I lived in did not have cable TV at that time. Most channels were were fucked up until they switched to backups I guess. Beepers didn't work as well. Nowadays if stuff like beepers and cell phones wend down after a terrorist attack I would assume it was part of a homeland security plan to prevent terrorists and looters from coordinating. Back then it was probably the feeds to the antenna at the top of the WTC were messed up.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:03 AM on February 26, 2013


That day was my 21st birthday. I'd already survived one bombing in NYC at that point in my life, so despite celebrating, I had a real understanding of what happened there. And then, to be at the WTC on 9/11 - what are the chances?
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:04 AM on February 26, 2013


happy birthday blaneyphoto!
posted by sweetkid at 9:05 AM on February 26, 2013


There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001). They both happened in the year of the snake.


Ah, the decadent innumerate West, such an easy target for terror group Al-Gebra.
posted by chavenet at 9:09 AM on February 26, 2013 [32 favorites]


There were quite a few bombings by the F.A.L.N in the mid to late 70s besides the Fraunces Tavern bombing.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 AM on February 26, 2013


My brother and I were stuck on a downtown A train just ahead of Washington Square while the situation at the WTC was dealt with. Having been through IRA bombings in London in the 70s, we felt somewhat inured to that sort of thing, at least compared with our fellow strap-hangers. The mood on the subway car was tense, overall, but there seemed as though there was a tacit faith in New York's resilience. This was, of course, before the Oklahoma City Bombing, a much cruder truck bomb but carried out with far more deadly efficiency than Yousef's plot. "Never such innocence,/Never before or since.../Never such innocence again."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:29 AM on February 26, 2013


But both are prime numbers, so watch out 2013!

Well, 1993 is prime, but 2001 isn't. So, watch out all you years that are either prime or not-prime!
posted by The Bellman at 9:30 AM on February 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


We were both annoyed that none of the broadcast channels where airing so we couldn't watch cartoons.
...
The part of Brooklyn I lived in did not have cable TV at that time. Most channels were were fucked up until they switched to backups I guess.

Having been (a particularly clueless) eight or nine at the time, this is all I remember of the event. I couldn't watch anything except The Wizard of Oz, which was on CBS which I guess wasn't transmitted from WTC. I don't even remember if they let us out of school early.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on February 26, 2013


Upon further research, CBS had an always-on backup transmitter at the Empire State Building.
posted by griphus at 10:24 AM on February 26, 2013


The craziest part of this story is that huge parts of Brooklyn didn't have cable TV in 1993!
posted by Ad hominem at 10:26 AM on February 26, 2013


The parts that serviced by Time Warner Cable still don't! But the guy is coming next Thursday some time between 8 AM and 8 PM.
posted by griphus at 10:29 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


My uncle, who was a structural engineer working on the aftermath of that incident, told me that they came very close to bringing down the building at that time. Apparently the amount of explosives was enough, but the placement was not optimal for damaging the support structure.

This must be apocryphal, but my dad told me that the conspirators had actually picked out the ideal group of spaces for maximum damage (I guess this is what the reference to the poured concrete foundations is in the Wiki article), and had found a single empty spot in that area, but before they could maneuver the rental van into that space, some asshole in a convertible swung around them and stole it.

I assume that didn't actually happen, but it made me love New York assholes, pretty much forever.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:39 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


"My uncle, who was a structural engineer working on the aftermath of that incident, told me that they came very close to bringing down the building at that time. Apparently the amount of explosives was enough, but the placement was not optimal for damaging the support structure."

This is what kind of bugged me about all the "how could we KNOW??" after September 11. I mean, I didn't have any way of knowing, but this had happened before and there are people whose job it is to predict these things...(not bashos_frog's uncle of course, but defense agencies, police etc).
posted by sweetkid at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a 12 year gap between the first and second world trade attacks (1993 and 2001). They both happened in the year of the snake.

Wait a second... the year of the snake? I'm starting to understand. This wasn't a plot by Al-Qaida - this was the work of C.O.B.R.A.!

(And by that I mean C.O.B.R.A. from "G.I. Joe," not the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:08 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note there are 12 years between the two attacks in base-6.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any year unfortunate enough to be merely a number is a potential target. We may have to wait till The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment for our first terror-free year.
posted by vidur at 2:16 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


this was the work of C.O.B.R.A.!

Bullshit. Did anyone take over your TV beforehand and make some demands? We have an operational profile, and we stick to it.
posted by COBRA! at 2:26 PM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


We have an operational profile, and we stick to it.

Plus I think you would have had to make sure everyone in the building had a little parachute.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


He and KSM had drawn up plans to crash planes into the CIA headquarters and the US discovered these plans after a raid in 1995.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." --Condoleezza Rice
posted by kirkaracha at 5:16 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, math error. But glad to be of entertainment. It is 12 years since 9/11.
posted by stbalbach at 9:23 PM on February 26, 2013


My father was on the concourse level under the plaza when the explosion happened. I kept a copy of a news article that mentioned his experience in my scrapbook, and just dug it out:
People poured from the building after the explosion. … [asperity's father] was on the concourse under the plaza about noon Friday when the lights blinked and he heard a thump.

"Three or four seconds later there was a muffled mass scream… scores of people shouting in the distance" from the elevator banks leading to the subway, he said.

"A second or two after that, there was a wave of people, hundreds of people running away from the subway entrance," he said. He said he stepped behind a pillar to avoid being crushed or trampled by the crowd.

"Then I walked to the head of the escalators leading to the subway stations… a big open bank of a dozen elevators. Smoke was starting to billow out like pictures you see of the mouth of a coal mine after an explosion."
My memories of the day are questionable. I think I remember hearing about it in school, seeing it on TV, and having been scared: "My dad's in there!" and I don't think anyone believed me. But the classroom I have the memory of isn't one I would have been in that year. I'm glad I've got one meaningful-to-me version of this story solidly in print. Memory is hazy, newsprint lasts forever.
posted by asperity at 8:56 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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