REMEMBERING FEB. 26, 1993, THE FIRST WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK
inside and out
|Mohamed Salameh, driver of the van when the World Trade Center was bombed on Feb. 26, 1993, at his arraignment. (Drawing by Elizabeth Williams)|
Feb. 26, 1993 is a day that courtroom artist and Lower Manhattan resident Elizabeth Williams will not forget. As she recounted in her blog, "Illustrated Courtroom," "I was in the World Trade Center concourse purchasing tickets to 'Jelly's Last Jam' at the TKTS stand. I strolled my then 1-year-old son over the World Trade Center pass to the World Financial Center, where we sat down. Then about 10 minutes later a huge, booming sound rocked the glass-covered space where I was seated. The people in the atrium stopped talking, looked up, saw no glass was broken and then continued their conversations. I recall a security officer running up the Winter Garden stairs. No one knew what had happened and terrorism was the last thing on anyone's mind. Then the smoke started pouring out of the garage of the World Trade Center and chaos ensued."
About a week later, Williams said, she received a call late at night telling her to run over to the Federal courthouse. "I packed up my art supplies and learned that the FBI had determined who was responsible for the bombing and had made their first arrest - Mohamed Salameh - a Palestinian illegal alien who was the driver of the van. I recall he was very angry during his arraignment and I felt it was important to capture that."
Williams' drawing of Salameh made the cover of Newsday the next day.
"Many people have already forgotten about that attack," Williams said. "Now, I think to myself how lucky it was that no glass from the Winter Garden ceiling came loose and fell down. Many people - including my son and me - could have been hurt or killed. Trust me, the whole place shook. It was downright scary."
Like many people who were directly affected by the World Trade Center bombings, Williams has lived with an increased sense of vulnerability since then. "Life has really never been the same since," she said, "especially in New York City."
Williams is co-author with Sue Russell of "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art," published in 2014. It was designated a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year and won kudoes from Kirkus as one of the best books of 2014. Williams' drawing of the Salameh arraignment appears in the book along with some additional information about his trial.
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Also a story about NYPD police officer
Detective James Rudolph
NY Press article excerpt about the 93 bombing
A Hero Whose Life Would Make a Book
But the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001 were what really made him understand what being a hero meant. "In 1993, [I was] on foot patrol, that afternoon, when we responded," Rudolph said. "There was a big boom that was heard all over Manhattan. We responded to the Trade Center and we were notified that someone from the Fire Department had fallen through a large crater and the mezzanine level into the garage area. So my partner and I helped carry all the equipment into the garage, which was all pancaked. We were standing in knee-deep water to try and rescue a [firefighter] out from under the debris. We [got him] out of there and just continued about the day. -