Oklahoma History April 19, 2016
On This Day In 1995, The Unthinkable Happened In Oklahoma
April 19, 1995, will be a day the world never forgets…especially Oklahomans. At approximately 9:00 a.m. that day, the unthinkable happened – Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and within minutes detonated a bomb that made Oklahoma City look like a war zone.
The blast killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. Over 324 buildings were damaged causing more than $650 million worth of damage. 90 minutes after the explosion took place, Timothy McVeigh was stopped by an Oklahoma State Trooper for driving without a license plate. He was arrested for being in possession of illegal weapons and within two days was charged, along with Terry Nichols, for the domestic terrorist attack in Oklahoma.
The powerful bomb inside the Ryder truck was made out of a deadly cocktail of agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel and other chemicals. The total weight of the truck was almost 5,000 pounds.
McVeigh deserted the Ryder truck and ignited two timed fuses. Within minutes, Oklahoma City looked like a deadly war zone.
The timeline of events that took place on the morning of April 19, 1995.
Video surveillance cameras in the area provided a timeline of events and evidence to help convict McVeigh and Nichols.
The motivation for McVeigh and Nichols' domestic terrorist attack was retaliation against the government handling of the Waco Branch Davidian incident that ended on April 19, 1993 (same date as OKC bombing).
In addition to their shared anger of the government's handling of the Waco incident, the two also shared the same feelings about the 1992 FBI standoff with Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge. McVeigh and Nichols met in 1988 during basic training for the U.S. Army at Fort Benning.
The blast was felt and heard up to 55 miles away.
Seisometers in Oklahoma City and Norman recorded the blast at a measurement of 3.0 on the Richter scale.
McVeigh was a Persian War veteran who was found guilty of the bombing of the Murrah building. He was executed by lethal injection in 2001, four years after his conviction.
McVeigh was honorably discharged from the army in 1991, after it was determined he wasn't in superior physical shape to advance on to Special Forces. He received several service awards during his time in the army.
Terry Nichols was convicted as an accomplice in the bombing. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without parole, because the jury deadlocked on the death penalty.
Nichols was discharged from the Army after only serving one year. McVeigh and Nichols went into business together selling guns and military supplies at gun shows. Nichols second wife was a 17-year-old woman from the Philippines that he met from a mail-order bride agency. When she finally arrived in the U.S., she was pregnant with another man's baby. When the child was two years old, he died of suffocation from a plastic bag while Nichols was babysitting. His wife suspected foul play but there was not enough evidence and the death was ruled accidental.
A breakdown of where the deaths and injuries occurred in the Murrah Building.
Just one month before the bombing, America's Kids, a day-care center, opened up on the 2nd floor of the building. All three teachers and 15 out of the 21 children in the daycare were killed that day.
A few days after the Oklahoma City Bombing, a severed left leg was found in the rubble. DNA evidence showed that it was from a victim, Lakesha Levy. When they went to return her leg, it was found that she was already buried with one.
It is unknown who the buried leg belongs to.
The Alfred P. Murrah Building was built on March 2, 1977, bombed on April 19, 1995, and demolished on May 23, 1995.
The building housed regional offices for the Social Security Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial was built in its place.
The stated purpose of the memorial reads, "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."
Please take a moment to remember those who lost their lives on this day in 1995. They will forever be in our hearts.
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