Former president Bill Clinton paid tribute to the people who lost their lives in one of the most heinous terror attacks United States had witnessed on its home soil.
Addressing the audience at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Clinton commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and commended on the resilience shown by the city and its people following the attacks.
On April 19, 1995, a truck filled with explosives blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The incident killed 168 people. Among the victims were 19 children who were at a daycare center.
The explosion had occurred at 9:02 a.m. US Army veteran Timothy McVeigh was the perpetrator, who planted the explosives in an act of revenge against a “tyrannical” government, according to Daily Mail.
At the service, Clinton said, “Oklahoma City, you had to choose to redeem your terrible losses by having to begin again.”
At the time, he was serving his first term in office.
168 empty chairs stand at the site in remembrance to those killed in the attacks. The ceremony included 168 seconds of silence and a reading by relatives and survivors of the names who perished.
According to Reuters, flowers, teddy bears and other mementos were placed on the empty chairs during the service on Sunday.
Praising the city’s resilience and how people came together and helped the ones in need following the attacks, Clinton said, “You reminded us we should all live by the Oklahoma Standard.”
USA Today quoted him, saying, “When you strip away all the little things that divide us, it’s important to remember how tied we are, and how much we, all Americans, owe Oklahoma City.”
“A tragedy like this could have torn a city apart, but instead it has united this city. … And that’s an example to us all. You had to choose far-sighted love over blind hatred.”
Timothy McVeigh was executed for his role in the attacks. He had brought accomplices to make explosives to shatter the glass windows of the building.
Clinton subsequently passed the congressional bill number HR 4159, or ‘Baylee’s Law’, to ensure the standard of glass used in public buildings.
Terry Nichols, McVeigh’s accomplice, was sentenced for 161 life imprisonments.
You might also be interested in: Girl In The Box Case: Perpetrator Denied Parole