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Posts Tagged ‘domestic terrorism’

April 19, 1995: Terrorism Hits Home

Oklahoma City Bombing Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Oklahoma City Bombing Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

April 19, 1995 began like any other day for most in Oklahoma City. It would end like no other with 168 of the city’s own killed when a homemade bomb in a parked truck exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  Until the attacks of September 11, it was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the United States. It remains the worst act of terrorism committed by a United States citizen.

Timothy McVeigh joined the U.S. Army in 1988 after struggling to find to find reliable employment. He rose to the rank of sergeant and served in the Persian Gulf war. His service in that war garnered him the Bronze Star and other combat medals. His service in the Gulf also cemented his transformation from solider to critic of the United States’ military strategy against Iraq to anti-government extremist.  After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, McVeigh’s animosity toward the federal government grew as a result of its participation in the Ruby Ridge (1992) and Waco (1993) sieges.

The nine months prior to the Oklahoma City bombing saw Timothy McVeigh thoroughly plan his attack assembling all the items needed to make a 4,800 pound explosive – fuses, fuels and ammonium nitrate – and secure the delivery device, a Ryder rental truck.  Timing the attack exactly two years after Waco, he carried it out at 9:02 a.m.

Timothy McVeigh was arrested shortly after the explosion.  Evidence overwhelmingly mounted against him, and he was convicted on June 2, 1997.  Sentenced to death, McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001 for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Among the 168 killed in Oklahoma City were 19 children and 59 federal employees.  Over 500 were injured.  The Oklahoma City National Memorial now sits on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building honoring the dead, the survivors and the first responders.  It serves as a solemn remembrance for those whose lives were changed so violently.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial by Dual Freq [GFDL-1.2] via Wikimedia Commons

“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”