Tuesday, April 19, 2011
16 YEARS REMEMBERED
The Oklahoma City bombing was a bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage.
Years later, the bombing’s impact still reverberates with those who lived through it. Daniel Gordon, 37, who was about seven miles from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at the time of the blast, remembers feeling the force of the explosion as he backed out of a parking spot at a grocery store. “It felt like I’d hit a car,” he said of the concussion from the blast. “I looked and saw a ton of smoke pouring from downtown.” As the day went on, he saw the damage to the building and bodies being pulled from it. “It was absolutely horrifying,” said Gordon, a fourth-generation jeweler whose family’s presence in Oklahoma predates statehood. “It was horror in real life.”
An Army veteran, Timothy McVeigh, was eventually convicted on federal murder charges in connection with the bombing and executed in 2001.
McVeigh said he set off the bomb in front of the Murrah building at 9:01 a.m., in part, to seek revenge against the U.S. government for its raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993.