OKLAHOMA CITY, April 19 (UPI) -- Survivors, family members and officials gathered in Oklahoma City for ceremonies to commemorate the 168 people killed in the bombing of a federal office building.
Sections of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building were sheared off in the explosion of a truck bomb left near the building April 19, 1995. In addition to the 168 deaths related to the attack, about 600 people were injured.
Ceremonies to mark the bombing were to begin about 9:02 a.m. CDT, the time the bomb went off 15 years ago.
Timothy McVeigh was convicted of carrying out the attack and put to death in a federal prison in 2001. Terry Nichols was also found guilty of helping McVeigh and sentenced to life in prison. McVeigh said he bombed the building in "retaliation" for government actions such as the 1993 raid of a compound near Waco, Texas.
Bill Clinton, who was president when the Murrah building was attacked, wrote in Sunday's New York Times that "we owe it to the victims of Oklahoma City" not to cross the line that leads to such violence. He suggested an inching toward that line through "so many threats against the president, members of Congress and other public servants" heard in current political dissent.
"Civic virtue can include harsh criticism, protest, even civil disobedience. But not violence or its advocacy. That is the bright line that protects our freedom," Clinton wrote.