‘The terror perpetrated by people like Timothy McVeigh is still with us’: AG Garland marks 26 years since Oklahoma City Bombing

Mid-South

OKLAHOMA CITY (NewsNation Now) — Monday marked the 26th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing that cost 168 lives lost.

Survivors, first responders and the deceased’s family members gathered for a 26th Annual Remembrance Ceremony which was held at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

168 seconds of silence was observed at the time of the bombing, 9:02 a.m., and family members read the names of the 168 people killed.

The outdoor ceremony was held between the gates of the memorial that mark the times, 9:01 and 9:03 a.m., before and after the explosion occurred. Behind the speakers were empty glass and metal chairs representing each person who died, including smaller chairs for the 19 children killed in the bombing, many of them inside the second-floor America’s Kids day-care center.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland attended as the keynote speaker. He spoke with emotion about the forces that motivated the Oklahoma City Bombing still existing today.

“Although many years have passed, the terror perpetrated by people like Timothy McVeigh is still with us,” Garland said, referring to the man ultimately convicted and executed for carrying out the attack. “Just last month, the FBI warned of the ongoing and heightened threat posed by domestic violent extremists.

“The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, prosecuting those who do, and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark here today.”

As Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in 1995, Garland led the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. He was on the scene within 48 hours, oversaw the multi-state, multi-agency law enforcement investigation coordinated by the FBI, and personally handled some of the early legal proceedings.

“26 years ago, I was sitting in my office at the Department of Justice in Washington, when an “Urgent Report” from the Oklahoma City U.S. Attorney’s Office came through. It was soon followed by a second “Urgent Report,” and then a third. There had been an explosion at the Murrah building,” said Garland.

Garland said that they turned on the news and saw his first glimpse of the destruction left behind by the bomb. However, it wouldn’t be his last.

Officials were able to track an axle that landed 200 yards away from the blast to a Ryder truck that was rented out of Junction City, Kansas.

Garland has called the work the “most important thing I have done” and was known for keeping a framed photo of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in his courthouse office in Washington.

We tried to treat you as we would have wanted our own families to be treated. And in return, you and all of Oklahoma City treated us like family. You took care of us – the first responders, investigators, and prosecutors who had converged on the city from across the country. The Salvation Army kept a food line going to feed us day and night. I don’t remember what I ate, but I know I was never hungry. Nearby tables were piled high with donations of everything from toothpaste to deodorant, from sweatshirts to rain jackets.

A barbershop relocated to the convention center and offered free haircuts. When I look at photographs from those days, I realize I did not visit the barber often enough. One resident noticed our increasingly disheveled look and even set up a laundry service at the command center. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for your thinking of our comfort in the midst of your pain. Nor the depth of my admiration for the care Oklahomans extended to those who were hurting, neighbors and strangers alike. This came to be known as “the Oklahoma Standard” – a spirit of community service, generosity, and kindness that we had never seen before.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum keeps the Oklahoma Standard going to this day. As Mr. Kennedy noted, once a week the museum hosts “Better Conversations,” to bring together people from different backgrounds, different politics and different ideologies, to discuss issues about which they disagree. It may not change minds, but it fosters understanding. And understanding is key to living peacefully, side-by-side, looking for common ground instead of allowing our differences to polarize us.”

Attorney general Merrick Garland

Hatred of the federal government motivated McVeigh and his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, to commit what many experts still refer to as the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in 2001. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt also warned of the dangers of division within the country.

“Never in our lifetime has it been easier for us to be divided,” Stitt said. “There are groups that refuse to listen to another point of view. They try to cancel anyone who sees the world differently.

“It feels like everywhere we turn, someone or something is trying to drive a wedge between us.”

Blayne Arthur, whose mother Margaret “Peggy” Clark died in the bombing, said she believes the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum plays an important role in teaching a new generation about the dangers of hate.

“That’s one of the most important purposes of the museum and the memorial is to tell that story to all generations and say there’s a different way and hate is not the answer,” said Arthur, who is now Oklahoma’s secretary of agriculture, “and I think now it’s really important to do that.”

Two new museum exhibits opened at the Oklahoma City National Memorial in tribute on the anniversary. 

Remembering Through Art is a project commissioned by a Broken Arrow High School art teacher to connect students to the loss experienced on April 19, 1995. Each art student chose one person from the 168 who were killed, researched that person, and created a work of art in their honor.

More Than Two Decades of Building. Together reveals how Oklahoma City came together to rebuild and remember. Starting with a mission statement and sacred ground to memorialize, family members, survivors, first responders, designers, and the community created a Memorial and Museum to tell the story of the senselessness of violence and share lessons learned.

List of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing: 

NINTH FLOOR

Drug Enforcement Administration

  • Shelly D. Bland, 25, of Tuttle
  • Carrol June “Chip” Fields, 48, Guthrie
  • Rona Linn Kuehner-Chafey, 35, Oklahoma City
  • Carrie Ann Lenz, 26, Choctaw
  • Kenneth Glenn McCullough, 36, Edmond

U.S. Secret Service

  • Cynthia L. Brown, 26, Oklahoma City
  • Donald Ray Leonard, 50, Edmond
  • Mickey B. Maroney, 50, Oklahoma City
  • Linda G. McKinney, 47, Oklahoma City
  • Kathy Lynn Seidl, 39, Bethel
  • Alan G. Whicher, 40, Edmond

EIGHTH FLOOR

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Ted L. Allen, 48, Norman
  • Peter R. Avillanoza, 56, Oklahoma City
  • David Neil Burkett, 47, Oklahoma City
  • Donald Earl Burns, Sr., 63, Oklahoma City
  • Kimberly Kay Clark, 39, Oklahoma City
  • Susan Jane Ferrell, 37, Oklahoma City
  • Dr. George Michael Howard, 45, Vallejo, Calif.
  • Antonio “Tony” C. Reyes, 55, Edmond
  • Lanny Lee David Scroggins, 46, Yukon
  • Leora Lee Sells, 57, Oklahoma City
  • Jules A. Valdez, 51, Edmond
  • David Jack Walker, 54, Edmond
  • Michael D. Weaver, 54, Edmond
  • Frances “Fran” Ann Williams, 48, Oklahoma City
  • Clarence Eugene Wilson, Sr. 49, Oklahoma

SEVENTH FLOOR

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Diane E. (Hollingsworth) Althouse, 45, Edmond
  • Andrea Yvette Blanton, 33, Oklahoma City
  • Kim R. Cousins, 33, Midwest City
  • Diana Lynne Day, 38, Oklahoma City
  • Castine Brooks Hearn Deveroux, 49, Oklahoma City
  • Judy J. (Froh) Fisher, 45, Oklahoma City
  • Linda Louise Florence, 43, Oklahoma City
  • J. Colleen Guiles, 59, Oklahoma City
  • Thompson Eugene “Gene” Hodges, Jr., 54, Norman
  • Ann Kreymborg, 57, Oklahoma City
  • Teresa Lea Taylor Lauderdale, 41, Shawnee
  • Mary Leasure-Rentie, 39, Bethany
  • James A. McCarthy II, 53, Edmond
  • Betsy J. (Beebe) McGonnell, 47, Norman
  • Patricia Ann Nix, 47, Edmond
  • Terry Smith Rees, 41, Midwest City
  • John Thomas Stewart, 51, Oklahoma City
  • John Karl Van Ess III, 67, Chickasha
  • Jo Ann Whittenberg, 35, Oklahoma City

SIXTH FLOOR

U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting

  • Sgt. Benjamin LaRanzo Davis, USMC, 29, Edmond
  • Capt. Randolph A. Guzman, USMC, 28, Castro Valley, Calif.

FIFTH FLOOR

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Olen Burl Bloomer, 61, Moore
  • James E. Boles, 50, Oklahoma City
  • Dr. Margaret L. “Peggy” Clark, 42, Chickasha
  • Richard “Dick” Cummins, 55, Mustang
  • Doris “Adele” Higginbottom, 44, Oklahoma City
  • Carole Sue Khalil, 50, Oklahoma City
  • Rheta Bender Long, 60, Oklahoma City

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Paul Gregory Beatty Broxterman, 42, Edmond

U.S. Customs Office

  • Paul D. Ice, 42, Midwest City
  • Claude Authur Medearis, S.S.A., 41, Norman

FOURTH FLOOR

U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway

  • Lucio Aleman, Jr., 33, Oklahoma City
  • Mark Allen Bolte, 28, Oklahoma City
  • Michael Carrillo, 44, Oklahoma City
  • Larry James Jones, 46. Yukon
  • James K. Martin, 34, Oklahoma City
  • Ronota Ann Newberry-Woodbridge, 31, Edmond
  • Jerry Lee Parker, 45, Norman
  • Michelle A. Reeder, 33, Oklahoma City
  • Rick L. Tomlin, 46, Piedmont
  • Johnny Allen Wade, 42, Edmond
  • John A. Youngblood, 52, Yukon

U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion

  • Sgt. 1st Class Lola Bolden, U.S. Army, 40, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Karen Gist Carr, 32, Midwest City
  • Peggy Louise Holland, 37, Oklahoma City
  • John C. Moss III., 50, Oklahoma City
  • Victoria (Vickey) L. Sohn, 36, Moore
  • Dolores (Dee) Stratton, 51, Moore
  • Kayla Marie Titsworth, 3.50, Lawton
  • Wanda Lee Watkins, 49, Oklahoma City

THIRD FLOOR

Defense Security Service

  • Harley Richard Cottingham, 46, Oklahoma City
  • Peter L. DeMaster, 44, Oklahoma City
  • Norma “Jean” Johnson, 62, Oklahoma City
  • Larry L. Turner, 42, Oklahoma City
  • Robert G. Westberry, 57, Oklahoma City

Federal Employees Credit Union

  • Woodrow Clifford “Woody” Brady, 41, Oklahoma City
  • Kimberly Ruth Burgess, 29, Oklahoma City
  • Kathy A. Finley, 44, Yukon
  • Jamie (Fialkowski) Genzer, 32, Wellston
  • Sheila R. Gigger-Driver, 28, Oklahoma City
  • Linda Coleen Housley, 53, Oklahoma City
  • Robbin Ann Huff, 37, Bethany
  • Christi Yolanda Jenkins, 32, Edmond
  • Alvin J. Justes, 54, Oklahoma City
  • Valerie Jo Koelsch, 33, Oklahoma City
  • Kathy Cagle Leinen, 47, Oklahoma City
  • Claudette (Duke) Meek, 43, Oklahoma City
  • Frankie Ann Merrell, 23, Oklahoma City
  • Jill Diane Randolph, 27, Oklahoma City
  • Claudine Ritter, 48, Oklahoma City
  • Christy Rosas, 22, Moore
  • Sonja Lynn Sanders, 27, Moore
  • Karan Howell Shepherd, 27, Moore
  • Victoria Jeanette Texter, 37, Oklahoma City
  • Virginia M. Thompson, 56, El Reno
  • Tresia Jo “Mathes” Worton, 28, Oklahoma City

SECOND FLOOR

America’s Kids Child Development Center

  • Baylee Almon, 1, Oklahoma City
  • Danielle Nicole Bell, 15 months, Oklahoma City
  • Zachary Taylor Chavez, 3, Oklahoma City
  • Dana LeAnne Cooper, 24, Moore
  • Anthony Christopher Cooper II, 2, Moore
  • Antonio Ansara Cooper Jr., 6 months, Midwest City
  • Aaron M. Coverdale, 5.50, Oklahoma City
  • Elijah S. Coverdale, 2.50, Oklahoma City
  • Jaci Rae Coyne, 14 months, Moore
  • Brenda Faye Daniels, 42, Oklahoma City
  • Taylor Santoi Eaves, 8 months, Midwest City
  • Tevin D’Aundrae Garrett, 16 months, Midwest City
  • Kevin “Lee” Gottshall II, 6 months, Norman
  • Wanda Lee Howell, 34, Spencer
  • Blake Ryan Kennedy, 1.50, Amber
  • Dominique Ravae (Johnson)-London, 2, Oklahoma City
  • Chase Dalton Smith, 3, Oklahoma City
  • Colton Wade Smith, 2, Oklahoma City

VISITOR

  • Scott D. Williams, 24, Tuttle

FIRST FLOOR

Social Security Administration

  • Teresa Antionette Alexander, 33, Oklahoma City
  • Richard A. Allen, 46, Oklahoma City
  • Pamela Cleveland Argo, 36, Oklahoma City
  • Saundra G. (Sandy) Avery, 34, Midwest City
  • Calvin Battle, 62, Oklahoma City
  • Peola Battle, 56, Oklahoma City
  • Oleta C. Biddy, 54, Tuttle
  • Casandra Kay Booker, 25, Oklahoma City
  • Carol Louise Bowers, 53, Yukon
  • Peachlyn Bradley, 3, Oklahoma City
  • Gabreon D.L. Bruce, 3 months, Oklahoma City
  • Katherine Louise Cregan, 60, Oklahoma City
  • Ashley Megan Eckles, 4, Guthrie
  • Don Fritzler, 64, Oklahoma City
  • Mary Anne Fritzler, 57, Oklahoma City
  • Laura Jane Garrison, 61, Oklahoma City
  • Margaret Betterton Goodson, 54, Oklahoma City
  • Ethel L. Griffin, 55, Edmond
  • Cheryl E. Hammon, 44, Oklahoma City
  • Ronald Vernon Harding, Sr., 55, Oklahoma City
  • Thomas Lynn Hawthorne, Sr., 52, Choctaw
  • Dr. Charles E. Hurlburt, 73, Oklahoma City
  • Jean Nutting Hurlburt, 67, Oklahoma City
  • Raymond “Lee” Johnson, 59, Oklahoma City
  • LaKesha Richardson Levy, 21, Midwest City
  • Aurelia Donna Luster, 43, Guthrie
  • Robert Lee Luster, Jr., 45, Guthrie
  • Rev. Gilbert X. Martinez, 35, Oklahoma City
  • Cartney J. McRaven, 19, Midwest City
  • Derwin W. Miller, 27, Oklahoma City
  • Eula Leigh Mitchell, 64, Oklahoma City
  • Emilio Tapia, 50, Oklahoma City
  • Charlotte Andrea Lewis Thomas, 43, Oklahoma City
  • Michael George Thompson, 47, Yukon
  • LaRue A. Treanor, 55, Guthrie
  • Luther H. Treanor, 61, Guthrie
  • Robert N. Walker, Jr., 52, Oklahoma City
  • Julie Marie Welch, 23, Oklahoma City
  • W. Stephen Williams, 42, Cashion
  • Sharon Louise Wood-Chesnut, 47, Oklahoma City

General Services Administration

  • Steven Douglas Curry, 44, Norman
  • Michael L. Loudenslager, 48, Harrah

THOSE KILLED IN SURROUNDING AREA

Rescue Worker

  • Rebecca Needham Anderson, 37, Midwest City

Athenian Building (Job Corps)

  • Anita Christine Hightower, 27, Oklahoma City
  • Kathryn Elizabeth Ridley, 24, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Building

  • Robert N. Chipman, 51, Edmond
  • Trudy Jean Rigney, 31, Midwest City

NewsNation affiliate KFOR and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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