It has been almost 20 years to the day that the tragedy of the Oklahoma City Bombing occurred. The domestic terrorist bomb attack took place at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, and was reportedly carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, both whom were veterans of the United States Army.
Nichols was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, and is incarcerated at ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. McVeigh was executed about four years after his conviction by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. Two others, Michael and Lori Fortier, were also involved as accomplices and tried for their knowledge of the planning of the bombing. Michael Fortier agreed to testify against Nichols and McVeigh in exchange for a reduced sentence for himself and immunity for his wife Lori. He was released January 20, 2006 into the Witness Protection Program, and is now free under a new identity after serving 10 and a half years of his original 12 year sentence. Lori Fortier ended up testifying during the trials as to her participation and knowledge of the events, and was never prosecuted. She eventually was reunited with her husband along with their 2 children.
Many lives were touched over this bombing. Many of the survivors still feel the effects of the attack and will live with the devastation the rest of their lives. Writer Jeff Truesdell of People Magazine gave an excellent quote in his article on the tragedy.
“And though the survivors continue to live with the pain of the horrific attack, they celebrate the strength it’s given them.”
~ Jeff Truesdell, Staff Writer at People Magazine
People Magazine has some stories on the survivors that may interest you and have promised more to come in their latest edition of the Survivors Reunion on Friday, April 17th.
A Memorial was created that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected . It is located in downtown Oklahoma City. The National Memorial was authorized on October 9, 1997, by President Bill Clinton’s signing of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997. It was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.
Former President Bill Clinton made a speech at the first Memorial Prayer Service as the tragedy occurred during his first term in office.
Clinton is scheduled to speak at Remembrance Ceremony on the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, along with elected officials Mayor Ron Norick, Governor Frank Keating, Mayor Mick Cornett, and Governor Mary Fallin in attendance. The service is open to the public and visitors from across the country and world will also be in attendance to the Remembrance Ceremony. The ceremony will start at 8:55am on Sunday April 19, 2015 and will observe a 168 seconds of silence at 9:02 a.m. It will be followed by a program of hope and healing honoring the spirit of community that captivated the nation.
Although Timothy McVeigh was considered to be a nobody and an un-repentive, troubled, fanatical, and evil person prior to and even after his death, he did manage to leave his mark in history for our nation. He did not speak at his execution, but instead left his chilling final words in a note written on June 11, 2001, which was read out loud. “Out of the night that covers me, Black is the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloodied but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade and yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. Thank you”.
This tragedy is now a part of our nation’s history and will always be remembered as such. Please take the time to bow your heads in remembrance of all who have been touched by this horrible event on Sunday April 19th.
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