The legacy of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing: Choosing knowledge over fear

(Credit: Urbanite)

The following is a guest column by Joe Daniels, President & CEO, National September 11 Memorial & Museum

On Feb. 26, 1993, the world shook when terrorists detonated bombs at the World Trade Center. At the time, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo said in response, “We all have that feeling of being violated. No foreign people or force has ever done this to us. Until now we were invulnerable.”

Although the horror of that day faded in the memories of many, on Sept. 11, 2001, the entire country re-awakened to the indiscriminate brutality of terrorism. We were reminded of al-Qaida’s hate-filled ideology and the innocent people who become victims of their agenda.

Today, we still struggle to come to grips with a world in which terrorism is a reality. We have a collective obligation, however, to respond to that reality in some way.

One such response is to choose knowledge over fear.

Let us take a moment to remember what happened 16 years ago today: on Friday, Feb. 26, 1993, at 12:18 pm, a small cell of terrorists with links to a local radical mosque and broader Islamic terror networks detonated explosives in the underground parking garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Six people were killed, one of whom was a pregnant woman. The victims included a visitor to the World Trade Center, an employee of the Windows on the World restaurant, and four Port Authority employees. Thousands of people were injured.

The history we choose to safeguard of what happened that day must extend further than these basic facts; further even than remembrances of the victims or commemorations on the anniversaries. It’s important that we try to understand who was responsible and how the attacks continue to impact today’s world.

Core to our mission at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will be the education of the millions of people who will visit this institution each year. We are embarking on fulfilling this mission by presenting a series of interviews with experts that explore the emergence of al-Qaida and the ramifications of the attacks of February 1993 and September 2001 on the United States and the global community. These webcasts, available on, explore the complexities of security, culture, and politics that are undeniable realities in our interconnected global community.

By critically examining these varying opinions, we can explore how the world has changed and the actions we can take to build a better society. Without understanding the framework and mission of the terrorist organizations bent on destruction, we cannot work to prevent further attacks. In informing ourselves and others, we can use our shared history as a lesson – one that has the potential to challenge and inspire the way we interact in the world today.

Tags: world trade center , 1993 wtc bombing , manhattan , history

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