oklahoma city bombing

Get Over It
  • Get Over It
  • Timothy McVeigh
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A message from Timothy McVeigh to his victims. This recording is from the interviews Lou Michel conducted with him in prison to write American Terrorist.

I had no hesitation to look right at them and listen to their story, but I‘d like to say to them, I‘ve heard your story many times before. The specific details may be unique, but the truth is, you‘re not the first mother to lose a kid. You‘re not the first grandparent to lose a granddaughter or a grandson. I‘ll use the phrase, and it sounds cold, but I‘m sorry, I‘m going to use it, because it‘s the truth—get over it.

Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, dressed in army camouflage. McVeigh graduated from U.S Army Infantry School in Georgia and used much of his spare time to read about firearms, sniper tactics, and explosives. McVeigh was reprimanded by the military for purchasing a “White Power” T-shirt at a Ku Klux Klan protest against black servicemen who wore “Black Power” T-shirts around the army base.

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April 19, 1995. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. A single moment in time that changed everything, sending waves of destruction and grief from the epicenter to every corner of the city and state. That day 168 people were killed, including 19 children. Nearly 700 people injured. Twenty years later and pain still lingers. Consider taking a minute to not only to honor the lives lost in this tragedy, but also appreciate the resilience of the wonderful and strong people of Oklahoma.

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April 19, 1995, 8:57 A.M.: A lobby security camera at an apartment complex in downtown Oklahoma City captures a yellow Ryder truck headed toward the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

April 19, 1995, 9:00 A.M.: The Ryder truck is parked in a drop-off zone in front of the north side of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The driver exits the vehicle and locks it. The keys to the vehicle are dropped a few blocks away by the driver.

April 19, 1995, 9:02 A.M.: The Ryder truck, packed in excess of 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel mixture, detonates. One-third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is destroyed, the explosion of the truck leaves a crater 30 feet wide and 8 feet deep where it was parked, 324 buildings within a 16-block radius are destroyed or badly damaged, and glass is shattered in 258 nearby buildings. The effects of the blast were equivalent to over 5,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of TNT. It was heard and felt up to 55 miles (89 kilometers) away. A Seismometer at Science Museum Oklahoma, 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers) away, and a Seismometer in Norman, Oklahoma, 16.1 miles (25.9 kilometers) away, both recorded the blast as measuring approximately 3.0 on the Richter scale. The explosion caused an estimated $652 million in damage, left several hundred people homeless, and shut down many businesses in downtown Oklahoma City. 680 people were injured. 168 lives, 19 of which were children under the age of 6, were taken. 

Today, April 19, 2013, is the 18th anniversary of the bombing in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released the following statement:

“On this day 18 years ago, our city was forever changed when 168 lives were taken from us in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. Today, we remember those who were lost, and offer support to the survivors and families left behind. We also honor the heroic efforts of the emergency responders, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel who worked tirelessly to recover survivors.

In the days after the bombing, our city came together in a display of strength, unity and resiliency that would later become known as the ‘Oklahoma standard.’ That same spirit has allowed our city to overcome this tragedy and emerge stronger than ever.

Our hearts are also burdened today as we grieve for the victims of the bombing attacks in Boston. Oklahoma City knows all too well the pain Boston is experiencing, and we continue to offer our prayers for the victims and their families. Oklahomans – just like all Americans – are a resilient and tough people. We have full confidence that our friends in Boston will emerge from this terrible tragedy stronger.

Top photo: Vigil held in remembrance of the victims of the OKC bombing.
Bottom photo: Vigil held for Martin Richard, killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.

An Extra Leg

The 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a devastating terrorist attack that killed at least 168 people. Among the dead was 21-year-old Lakesha Levy, a member of the Air Force who was at the building to pick up a Social Security card. After Levy’s body was buried, a severed leg was found in the rubble of the building. FBI tests found that the decomposed leg belonged to a black woman. A footprint determined that it belonged to Levy, even though she’d been buried with two legs.

Her body was subsequently exhumed, but officials were unable to determine just where this mystery leg came from. The body’s DNA had been destroyed by the embalming process. According to Oklahoma medical examiner Fred Jordan, “We don’t have a body to match it to. It’s something we haven’t figured out yet.”