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20 years since Oklahoma City bombing; worst act of domestic terrorism

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Oklahoma City National Memorial designers Hans and Torrey Butzer share an emotional moment under the survivor tree prior to dedication ceremonies on April 18, 2000. File Photo by bc/Bill Carter/Norman Transcript UPI
Oklahoma City National Memorial designers Hans and Torrey Butzer share an emotional moment under the survivor tree prior to dedication ceremonies on April 18, 2000. File Photo by bc/Bill Carter/Norman Transcript UPI | License Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 19 (UPI) -- More than 168 people died 20 years ago today when Timothy McVeigh set off a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Among the dead were 19 children. McVeigh detonated a rental truck parked in front of the office building, which housed a daycare center. The April 19, 1995 attack remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

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McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols, an accomplice, is serving a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole at the ADX Florence, Colo. super-maximum security prison.

Bill Clinton, president at the time, gave a speech four days after the bombing in Oklahoma City.

"You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything," Clinton said. "And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes."

McVeigh was arrested soon after the bombing by State Trooper Charles Hanger. The officer saw McVeigh driving on a highway without a license plate.

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Hanger thought he was making a routine traffic stop. McVeigh told the officer he had a weapon and he was arrested for driving without plates and for possessing an illegal firearm.

"There was a lot of divine intervention that took place," Hanger recently said. "This is an arrest you never dream of making."

The Oklahoma City bombing was the worst act of any kind of terrorism in the United States until the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to remember the victims.

"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."

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