Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building Bombing: 18 Years Later
OKLAHOMA CITY - Hundreds of people gathered inside a church near the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Friday to mark 18 years since the Murrah Federal Building bombing.
Because of the weather, some changes were made to the ceremony.
In previous years, the remembrance ceremony was held outside on the memorial grounds. Because of the damp grounds at the site and the cold temperatures, organizers moved the ceremony inside to the First United Methodist church located nearby.
The ceremony began at 8:55 a.m. At 9:02 a.m., there were 168 seconds of silence to honor the lives lost that day.
Governor Mary Fallin spoke at the ceremony. She was lieutenant governor of the state and attending a prayer breakfast downtown when the bombing occurred in 1995. She said she vividly remembers the day and how people rushed to help, setting what's become known as the "Oklahoma Standard."
Fallin said the tragedy could have crippled Oklahoma City, but didn't. She said Oklahomans had the inner strength to rebuild, and because of that Oklahoma City is now thriving.
The governor also offered prayers and support to Boston, saying Oklahomans well know, sadly, what the New England city is experiencing in the aftermath of the marathon bombing.
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 the 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 also are 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."
Something new this year, organizers began a social media campaign to engage the younger generation.
They're asking people who use Twitter to tweet about the events of April 19, 1995 and use the hashtag #FOREVERCHANGED@OKCNM. They're asking the same on Instagram and Facebook.