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20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing


marylander1940
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Clint was 7 when Timothy McVeigh, a disillusioned Army veteran, detonated a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Clint’s mom worked in the building as an investigative assistant for the Secret Service. When the bomb went off at 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, Kathy Seidl, 39, fell nine stories to her death.

 

In all, the explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children, most from the building’s day care center. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil until 9/11.

 

Kathy’s only child quickly became one of the bombing’s most heartbreaking and memorable victims. Here was this boy, with sleepy eyes and bowl-cut hair the color of hay, who forged ahead without outward reluctance or self-pity after his mother’s death. He prepared testimony for McVeigh’s trial, lobbied Congress for a swifter death penalty, raised money with Miss America and broke ground for a memorial with Vice President Al Gore.

 

Clint, like so many of us, found ways to cope with hardship — self-protective measures we lean on, at whatever cost.

 

He became the stoic one.

 

The one who stayed dry-eyed during the McVeigh trial while seasoned journalists wept. The one who grew up to deal with pain by going for a long drive in his truck. The one who learned to suffer alone.

 

“I’ve always kind of been the ‘it is what it is’ guy,” Clint says. Now 27, he’s raising a family of his own and has a daughter who is older than he was at the time of the bombing.

 

He’s not one to commemorate his mother’s death, or make a big fuss each April 19. He’d rather stay busy and try to ignore the date’s significance. “I really don’t want to relive it every year,” he says.

 

He may have to this year, the 20th since the bombing.

 

Because for the first time as an adult, Clint plans to attend Oklahoma City’s annual memorial ceremony Sunday — and face memories he’s long avoided.

 

Source: http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/okc-anniversary/

 

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Tim McVeigh angers me far more than other terrorists who've hit people on American soil because he had every advantage. As ex-military, I consider his actions those of a traitor. His actions still don't mean that I favor the death penalty (for another thing, it will inevitably kill someone who is actually innocent if it hasn't already), but I didn't weep over his death, either.

 

My daughter was just shy of a year old at the time, and I'd worked at a similar federal building in upstate NY, so the Oklahoma City bombing and the deaths of the children in daycare there hit me hard. There was a time when those of us who worked in the building were required to come in the first floor entrance (which was a much longer walk from where I parked than the basement entrance I usually used) and sign in because of bomb threats to another office in NYS. Nothing ever happened and we eventually went back to business as usual. I wondered what good that sign-in sheet would have done anyway if the building were bombed. It always felt like something that was done to make people feel better but which had little practical effect.

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