Remembering the Oklahoma City Bombing 23 Years Later
“Today we are here to remember those who were lost, to pray for those families that suffered, to express our deepest gratitudes to those who helped, and let them know we will always remember.”
Oklahoma City, OK, changed 23 years ago today when an explosion happened at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02AM. It killed 168 people, including 19 children and three unborn children.
Every year, we hold a ceremony at 9AM at the OKC Memorial to remember and mourn those we lost.
Every single year, we hold a ceremony at the OKC National Memorial Museum to remember that tragic day and those we lost.
At 9:02AM we hold 168 seconds of silence in honor of those who died.
168 seconds of silence to remember the 168 people killed 23 years ago. #WeRememer. pic.twitter.com/f3qNGukOfK
— OKC Memorial (@OKCNM) April 19, 2018
We also read the names of all 168 victims.
“Today we are here to remember those who were lost, to pray for those families that suffered, to express our deepest gratitudes to those who helped, and let them know we will always remember.” – Governor Mary Fallin. #WeRemember pic.twitter.com/9PgQ0fzdij
— OKC Memorial (@OKCNM) April 19, 2018
At this ceremony, we also remembered the late Billy Graham, who hopped on a plane and flew to OKC even though he was battling the flu at the time. He stood with the city and provided the much needed spiritual support Oklahomans needed at the time. From the OKC Museum:
“When we called to ask Rev. Graham to come, he made an enormous effort to be with us as he had been in bed all week with what the doctors believed was the flu. Nonetheless he hopped on a plane with his lovely wife Ruth and his son Franklin and arrived early enough to visit the site. At that time he met with the rescue workers, volunteers and family members in an effort to bring them comfort and to reach out in faith unlike anyone else could. The next day at the prayer service, it was miraculous to see such an infirmed man, clearly weakened by the previous weeks illness, rise to the occasion with such enormous strength and conviction and fill our hearts and our souls with the power of faith, hope and love which helped not only each of us, but our city and state begin to heal”, said former First Lady and organizer of the event Cathy Keating. “He will forever be in our hearts.”
In an interview in 2012, Mr. Graham he said he was humbled the Memorial asked to inscribe his words at the Memorial. “It certainly reflects my deepest feelings, and the feelings of millions of Americans as they remember what happened here. I saw people in Oklahoma and around the country turning to God in renewed faith and trust. It was true for me as well.”
“One of my lasting memories will always be the opportunity I had to meet and pray with some of the families who had lost loved ones, and also with some of the survivors to hear their stories – some of which were truly remarkable. After the prayer service, President Clinton and I slipped away to meet privately with them, and it was very moving. I was struck by the President’s heartfelt concern; he couldn’t have been more sincere and more consoling,” Graham recalled.
Here is a video of Graham at a memorial service after the bombing:
The OKC Memorial Museum opened 20 years ago, but technology has helped the museum evolve and keep the memory of those we lost going. It also helps people not forget what happened on April 19, 1995.
The memorial’s Facebook page posts a picture and biography every year on a day of a victim’s birthday. Executive Director Kari Watkins said the museum has received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the posts and the ability to do this allows “people who can’t actually come to the memorial to get a sense of who these people were.”
No matter what. We will always remember. We will always remember and be forever thankful to those first responders and medical personnel who ran into the fire to help and save those who needed it.
#WeRemember 168 people, including 18 children and three unborn children. 380 injured. pic.twitter.com/wC4MMtDt9q
— Mary #FlyTheW (@mchastain81) April 19, 2018
#WeRemember & are forever thankful to those who ran into the building to help those in need. Heroes. pic.twitter.com/RGLCnaKl17
— Mary #FlyTheW (@mchastain81) April 19, 2018
Cops wrote this on their cars in the aftermath. It is true. We will never forget and #WeRemember pic.twitter.com/RwOmCTGVzm
— Mary #FlyTheW (@mchastain81) April 19, 2018
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It’s a shame that McVeigh took the tragedy of Waco and turned April 19th into one of his own creation. Waco should serve as a cautionary tale against bloated, rogue government agencies which solely exist to serve themselves. The ATF never should have conducted the raid on the Mount Carmel Center in the manner in which they did. And, 51 days later, the FBI should never have knocked in the walls and inserted lethal volumes of incendiary tear gas into the building when people other than David Koresh were present. If there was a justified warrant against Koresh, and there was, he should have been taken on one of his daily morning jogs or when he was in town. Nobody needed to die at Waco. One can understand the anger of McVeigh without condoning his actions.
Please. Waco was not the fault of the federal government. The Branch Davidians had a month and a half to leave the compound in Waco, following the attempt to serve what was a valid search warrant. Many of them did and were treated well. Unfortunately, when the feds attempted to enter and arrest those remaining at the compound, most of these people died. So, exactly HOW were the feds to know when Koresh was alone? A significant number of the fatalities were actually the result of suicide or homicide by the Davidians.
The government had both the legal authority and the right to enter the Davidian compound on both occasions. The inhabitants of the compound were given more than sufficient time [51 days] to vacate the compound and surrender to LE. Those that did, lived. Those that did not, died. That was their own fault.
McVeigh was an anarchistic lunatic. Even without Waco and Ruby Ridge, he would have found some reason to attack the United States government.
Waco was ABSOLUTELY the fault of the Federal Government! The McClennan County Sheriff said repeatedly that if they the Feds had EVER told him they had a warrant for Koresh, he could have arrested him at any time, since Koresh came into town at least twice a week in a car that stood out, a flashy ’67 Camaro that he loved.
The ATF wanted to stage a big raid because it was appropriations time and they wanted to up their funding – that’s why they militarized the whole operation and didn’t let the local Sheriff in on it until it was too late.
And as far as “they had to go in” – What was wrong with just putting a concertina wire fence around the compound and waiting them out? They were contained, so what if it took another month, or more? There was no need for the kind of massive show, except that the Feds were starting to look like fools and get bad press.
And so, because they were scared of looking bad on TV, the Feds murdered over 20 children. Oh yeah a high point of US Law enforcement.
Sorry, but that is totally incorrect. The people who died in the final raid would all have been alive IF they had simply surrendered. Their deaths were entirely their fault.
Now, what the anti-government websites always seem to ignore is the the initial raid was an attempt to serve SEARCH WARRANTS, for the compound, as well as arrest warrants for Koresh and a few others. Arresting Koresh in town would not have allowed the compound to be searched for illegal weapons. That had to occur at the compound.
As to waiting these people out, exactly how long should authorities wait for a person, for whom they have a valid arrest warrant, to turn himself in? Why should they wait at all? They waited 51 days at Waco and over a year at Ruby Ridge. In both cases, there was no indication that the remaining people at either location were going to surrender. Also, do have any idea HOW EXPENSIVE it would be to maintain a perimeter around the compound in Waco?
This idea that people can arbitrarily decide to 1) resist the service of a valid warrant and 2) simply refuse to surrender to LEOs who hold such a warrant is not only stupid, but illegal. The children could have been sent out, if the adults wanted to make a last stand. But, their parents kept them in harm’s way. These people not only died because they were stupid, their children died with them. I have nothing but contempt for them.
Mac, I don’t think that anyone here is “anti-government.” Many of us are Constitutionalists, and given that the Constitution provides the framework for our form of government, it’s not entirely correct to say that we are, essentially, anarchists simply because we believe the federal government has too much power. Now, if by “anti-government,” you mean people who completely reject government (federal, state, and/or local), then you are talking about maybe 20 people who live in the boonies and mint their own currency from wild berries and corn husks.
So let’s put this “anti-government” rhetoric aside and look at the Branch Davidian debacle. First, Koresh should absolutely have been picked up in town and not as part of a raid. Law enforcement, and you know this, prefer to pick up people away from their homes. And you know why. Pick up Koresh on his warrant while he’s at a stop sign or on a lonely stretch of road leading to the local Walmart, and once he’s safely locked up, a couple of cops head out to the complex to execute their search warrant. No raid, swarms of federal, state, and local cops, just a couple of guys executing a warrant. Without Koresh there banging on about how he’s Jesus and how the Davidians must hold the fort unto their deaths, they wouldn’t have done a thing. Compliant cultists awaiting their savior are a walk in the park for law enforcement. Tell them that their special savior is waiting for them downtown, and off they go, eager to hear their messiah’s latest utterance.
Have a teams nearby, have snipers on site, have whatever makes you warm and cozy, but do not attempt to storm a stronghold peopled with believers who want to die for their cause while their godlet is on premises spouting his gospel of death. That’s just dumb. Seriously, stupidly dumb.
Do I know this peaceful resolution would have worked? Nope. But I do know it wasn’t even attempted. Clinton and Reno didn’t give a good darn about who had what guns or who was molesting what women and children (the original rationale given for the siege). Waco wasn’t about that, and you have to know that.
Waco never should have happened, and the blame rests on the Clinton administration, Janet Reno, the ATF, and the FBI. If you kick a beehive, you’ll get a dangerous swarm. If you remove the queen and smoke the hive, you get malleable bees ready to do what you want.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Waco, not the least of which is that apocalyptic cults are not afraid to die, to murder others, to even welcome these deaths. We should have learned that in the ’70s from Jonestown. We should have learned that from Waco. But we haven’t learned a thing.
I too thought Ruby Ridge was about some buck-tooth hillbilly, until I actually read what happened. Read up on the story before you respond. Here is one link I pulled off google, that, despite leaving out many details favorable to Weaver, gives you a good idea of what a horrible abuse of power that was.
Additionally, Weaver seems to have been targeted by the FBI, rather than being an actual threat. He was legally selling guns in idaho, and initially refused to sell to the ATF agent. Weaver was eventually was awarded 1.3 million for the entrapment that resulted in one of the most chilling stories of government abuse and cold blooded murder I have ever read. Don’t know if those links will do the story justice. But it is not as initially presented to us.
The arrest warrant was only for Koresh who could have been easily arrested during one of his morning runs. This was “Operation Showtime”!! As to who shot first, we will never know as any residual evidence was bulldozed or “lost”. And we have pictures of the BATFE “high five-ing” under the raised BATF flag over the rubble that was the compound. BATF friendly fire may have gotten the first death.
The FBI used psychological warfare which further cemented any paranoia. Using tanks and CS to expedite the end of the siege served what purpose? I would say that “embarrass the Feds, die by the Feds.” Larry Potts who engineered the Ruby Ridge fiasco was involved with Waco.
Yes they were looney… and there may have been 5 rifles converted to full auto. That molten proof of 5 auto sears has never been revealed.
The anti-government people are always attempting to paint the Branch Davidians as being just big teddy bears who were unjustly attacked by the big bad BATF. But, these lovable little teddy bears had both a history of violence AND were heavily armed. We may never know who fired the first shot. We may never know if the BATF made a clear announcement as to their identity.
Now as to your point that some, if not many, of the Davidians were mentally ill. This may be true. But if so, it is also true that they were heavily armed mentally ill people.
The bottom line is that the BATF had legal warrants. They chose to serve them as though the inhabitants of the compound were heavily armed and were hostile and/or mentally ill. Even after the initial shootout, the Davidians could simply have surrendered to authorities. Few would have been charged. And, no one else would have died. They chose not to do that and, even worse, they placed their children in highly hazardous situation. Whether this was an attempt to use their children as shields or simply stupidity or insanity, it did not turn out well.
Nope, the results of this situation are all on the Davidians.
“Nobody needed to die at Waco”. Maybe not from the standpoint of people with a sense of decency. But to a federal agency flailing about, looking for a reason to exist, those who died are just bumps in the road.
Nah, they were people actively resisting arrest who placed their children in the position of becoming collateral damage. If you chose not to play by the rules, then you can not claim the protection of the rules later, if you do not like the outcome of your choices.
One can see the continued arrogance of the government even today. The justice department is a weapon of the federal bureaucracy.
The FBI has only gotten worse along the rest of the deep state. We can thank Trump for exposing the pervasive illegal machinations.
I was living in Duncan, about 60 miles from OKC when this happened. I still remember the disbelief I felt when I heard of the tragedy. My nephew was graduating from High School that weekend in Nebraska and it was difficult navigating through the city to attend his graduation as so much was in chaos. We returned that Sunday, the day of the memorial service and again, the shock, the mourning and the sadness were overwhelming. If you have never gone through the memorial there, you should as it pays tribute to the victims and gives you insight into their lives. I still think that there is more to this story than we will ever know.
I wish that they had rebuilt the building as a more enduring reminder that life goes on… Berlin, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki rebuilt …even Ground Zero (though not all the way).
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