25 years later, Oklahoma City remembers 168 victims of bombing

Oklahoma City remembers the deadliest domestic-based terrorism attack on Sunday, marking 25 years since the bombing.

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Oklahoma City remembers the deadliest domestic-based terrorism attack on Sunday, marking 25 years since the bombing.

The coronavirus halted in-person programs, but a ceremony was held online

The nation is remembering the largest domestic-based terrorist attack in U.S. history on its 25th anniversary.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a veteran and anti-government activist, ignited a truck filled with thousands of pounds of fuel oil and fertilizer in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

»PHOTOS: Oklahoma City bombing years later

There were 168 fatalities from the explosion. The blast damaged buildings within a 16-mile radius, obliterated dozens of cars and injured hundreds more.

Fifteen of the victims were children from a day care attached to the building.

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Baylee Almon, the year-old infant whose picture became a symbol of the horrific bomb attack that left the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in rubble, is shown at 10 months in this family portrait. 

Baylee Almon, the year-old infant whose picture became a symbol of the horrific bomb attack that left the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in rubble, is shown at 10 months in this family portrait. 

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Baylee Almon, the year-old infant whose picture became a symbol of the horrific bomb attack that left the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in rubble, is shown at 10 months in this family portrait. 

Authorities tied Terry Nichols to the attack not long after, and he and McVeigh were indicted on murder and conspiracy charges.

While the gravity of Oklahoma City is often overshadowed by the international terrorist attack in New York City six years later, this bombing granted the power of shared experience for 9/11.

Nine first responders who led rescue efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing also entered the Twin Towers during 9/11 with firsthand knowledge of the aftermath of a bombing.

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An Oklahoma City firefighter walks near explosion-damaged cars on the north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after a bomb blast on April 19, 1995.

Credit: JIM ARGO

An Oklahoma City firefighter walks near explosion-damaged cars on the north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after a bomb blast on April 19, 1995.

Credit: JIM ARGO

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An Oklahoma City firefighter walks near explosion-damaged cars on the north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after a bomb blast on April 19, 1995.

Credit: JIM ARGO

Credit: JIM ARGO

Other Oklahomans traveled to New York to counsel victims’ families during the long searches that would follow.

Janet Ehrlich-Walker lost her husband in the Oklahoma City bombing, and she shared her account of what it was like counseling those who lost family in New York.

“Hello, my name is Janet Walker, and I am from Oklahoma City. I am sorry for your loss,” she would start.

"With glazed eyes, they would nod and say 'thank you.' I would then say, 'I know your pain,' and they would look at me as to say, how could you? Then I would tell them, 'I lost my husband in the Oklahoma City bombing.' Their eyes would open as they gasped and grabbed me and said, 'I am so sorry. Thank you for being here. God bless you.' The bond was made. They knew I truly did know their pain. I held them and told them the truth: that they will never find closure. In fact, they come to hate that word. And I told them that life will get better." — Janet Ehrlich-Walker

Since 2001, a museum and memorial stands in Oklahoma.

The memorial includes an outdoor space where the Murrah Building once stood. Inside the museum are artifacts and displays that allow visitors to learn more about the events of the day.

»COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

Even though the museum and memorial are closed due to COVID-19, Oklahoma City plans on commemorating the 25th anniversary with special programs.

One such program that has been ongoing since November is a blog honoring the 168 victims of the bombing. Every day the museum website recognizes a different victim with a name, photo and list of others who survived or were impacted by the bombing.

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Front pages of various Thursday, April 20, 1995, editions of British newspapers bear the headlines about the bombing in Oklahoma City.

Front pages of various Thursday, April 20, 1995, editions of British newspapers bear the headlines about the bombing in Oklahoma City.

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Front pages of various Thursday, April 20, 1995, editions of British newspapers bear the headlines about the bombing in Oklahoma City.

On April 19, the memorial produced an online ceremony inviting the community to join them in remembrance. The program included 168 seconds of silence and the reading of the names of the victims.

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