National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day in the United States Date in the current year: April 19, 2024

National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day in the United States National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day is observed on April 19 to honor the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all people who were affected by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Although it is not recognized by presidential proclamation, remembrance services are held every year at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The Oklahoma City bombing occurred on April 19, 1995. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two anti-government extremists with far right, white supremacist views, assembled and detonated a car bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 680.

McVeigh and Nichols met seven years before the bombing at Fort Benning where they were undergoing basic training for the U. S. Army. McVeigh decided to bomb a federal building as a response to the Ruby Ridge standoff of 1992 and the 1993 Waco siege. Although McVeigh initially only wanted to destroy the building, he decided that numerous victims would make his message more powerful.

McVeigh considered targets in several states before choosing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City because it housed 14 federal agencies and had a glass front that would shatter under the blast impact. He chose the date of the attack, April 19, to coincide with two anniversaries: of the Waco siege and of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Once the target was chosen, McVeigh and Nichols bought or stole everything they needed to make a bomb and rented a storage unit where they kept the bomb supplies. They removed the supplies from storage on April 17–18, 1995 and assembled the bomb, then went their separate ways: Nichols returned home to Herington, Kansas, while McVeigh headed to Oklahoma City.

McVeigh’s truck detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02 a. m. on April 19, 1995. The explosion destroyed one third of the target building, destroyed or damaged over 324 buildings nearby, shattered glass in 258 buildings, killed 168 people, injured almost 700 more, and destroyed or burned 86 cars.

Timothy McVeigh was arrested shortly after the bombing. He was tried and sentenced to death in 1997 and executed by lethal injection in 2001. His co-conspirator Terry Nichols turned himself in; he was tried after McVeigh and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by a federal court and to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole by a state court in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial, constructed at the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, was formally dedicated by President Bill Clinton on April 19, 2000, exactly five years after the attack. It opened ten months later.

Every April 19, the Oklahoma City National Memorial holds a remembrance observance honoring the victims of the bombing. It includes the traditional 168 seconds of silence (one second for each victim of the bombing) starting at 9:02 a. m., a reading of the names of victims, a church service, and a charity marathon.

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