On View: Harvey Joseph Gardner III’s Floppy Disk
A 9/11 family member reflects on how seemingly ordinary objects, like a floppy disk currently on view in the memorial exhibition, provide a tangible connection to our collective past.
On Wednesday, February 26, we will mark the 27th anniversary of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center with a ceremony at the North Pool parapet N-73, where the names of the six victims of the attack are engraved on the 9/11 Memorial. We’ll gather with the victims’ families, survivors, downtown residents, and city and state officials and mark the anniversary with moment of silence, the tolling of a bell, and a reading of the names of the six victims of the first terror attack at the site.
Born in Brooklyn, John DiGiovanni lived in Valley Stream, Long Island, with his mother. Known for his meticulousness, John detailed his car with a toothbrush. He worked as an East Coast sales manager for Kerr Chemicals.
Heading to a sales call on February 26, 1993, John pulled his car into the World Trade Center’s underground parking garage just before a bomb was detonated there. He was 45 years old.
A memorial fountain was built directly above the blast site on the World Trade Center’s Austin J. Tobin Plaza, which opened to the public two years after the attack on February 23. Inscribed on the 30-foot granite memorial were the names of the six victims. The fountain was destroyed on September 11, 2001, and only a single fragment of the 1993 memorial was recovered from the rubble. It bears part of John’s name.
Robert Kirkpatrick lived in Suffern, New York, with his wife, Evelyn. Skilled in carpentry, plumbing, and locksmithing, he worked for the Port Authority as a senior structural maintenance supervisor. Robert spoke of retiring in November 1993. On February 26 of that year, Robert was in the World Trade Center basement on his lunch break when a bomb exploded in the nearby parking garage. He was 61 years old.
Stephen Knapp lived with his wife, Louise, and their two children on Staten Island, where he was born. Stephen worked at the World Trade Center since its opening and was the Port Authority’s chief maintenance supervisor.
A man who didn't need a lot to make him happy, Stephen enjoyed spending time with family and friends, fishing on his boat, going to the racetrack or a ballgame. He enjoyed playing with his kids and their friends, and he would often be having just as good a time as the young ones.
On February 26, 1993, Stephen was on his lunch break in the World Trade Center basement when a bomb exploded in the nearby parking garage. He was 47 years old.
William Macko lived in Bayonne, New Jersey. He and his wife, Carol, had four children. William was a former U.S. Marine and enjoyed fishing and cooking. He worked for the Port Authority as an assistant chief mechanical supervisor for the World Trade Center. On February 26, 1993, William was on his lunch break in the complex’s basement when a bomb exploded in the nearby parking garage. He was 57 years old.
Currently on view in the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a cross carved from the same granite used for the 1993 memorial that stood on the World Trade Center Plaza until it was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. William’s wife received the cross and kept it alongside their wedding photo and the American flag that draped William’s coffin at his funeral.
Born in Lima, Peru, Wilfredo Mercado lived in East New York, Brooklyn, with his wife, Olga, and their two daughters. Wilfredo worked two jobs at the World Trade Center: weekdays as Windows on the World’s purchasing agent and weekends as a security guard. On February 26, 1993, he was receiving food deliveries in the complex’s basement when a bomb exploded in the nearby parking garage. Wilfredo was 37 years old.
Born in Manta, Ecuador, Monica Smith lived in Seaford, Long Island, with her husband, Edward. She was pregnant with their first child and had recently renovated their home and set up the baby’s room. Monica worked at the World Trade Center as a mechanical unit secretary for the Port Authority. She loved her job and even met her husband there when he made a sales call to her office. Edward pursued her for two years before she agreed to a date.
Monica had immigrated to the United States with her parents and four brothers. “My wife was the embodiment of the American Dream,” said Smith in a tribute to his wife. He remembers her as “a vivacious, outgoing person who was full of energy. She was the life of the party. At the same time, she was a natural mom to the people around her.”
On February 26, 1993, her last day of work before maternity leave, she was having lunch in the complex’s basement when a bomb exploded in the nearby parking garage. She was 35 years old.
By 9/11 Memorial Staff