Local, state, and federal officials dedicated a new federal building in Oklahoma
City a little more than nine years after a terrorist bombing blew up its predecessor.
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was destroyed by a truck bomb on April
19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh carried out the worst act of domestic terrorism
in U.S. history.
The blast killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others. McVeigh was executed
for the bombing in 2001.
On Monday, hundreds gathered to mark the dedication of a new, more secure
federal building not far from the site of the previous building.
Among those who spoke at the dedication was Attorney General John Ashcroft. "But
today I am reminded that the terrorists will never succeed in fulfilling their
desire to defeat freedom and liberty and America with terror," said Mr. Ashcroft. "This
gathering, this building, this city, are clear evidence, a demonstration of
a kind of spirit in America showing that men and women who are allowed to breathe
the bracing air of freedom will always come together to defeat the tyranny
of fear and hatred."
The new federal building is also close to a memorial park established in
memory of those who died in the 1995 blast. Oklahoma Republican Congressman
Ernest Istook says it has taken the community a long time to heal from the
wounds of the attack.
"We have enshrined, we have preserved and honored memories with the Oklahoma
City National Memorial," said Mr. Istook. "Memories not only of those who served
but those who came in service to assist us. But today is not a day to look
backward. Today, we look forward and we move ahead with the dedication of this
new federal campus [office complex]."
The new federal building includes shatterproof glass and a steel-plated entrance
to protect against possible future attack.
Meanwhile, the legal fallout from the Oklahoma City bombing continues. Terry
Nichols, a convicted co-conspirator with Timothy McVeigh in a federal court,
is on trial on state charges of murder. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison
on his federal conviction and he could face the death penalty if found guilty
by the state court.