COMING TO TERMS
APRIL 19, 1996
It was a day of remembering in Oklahoma City and around the nation. Betty Ann Bowser reports on the mood and the ceremonies at the site and around the city one year later.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: At 9:02 AM at precisely the moment the bomb exploded one year ago today, there was silence. For 168 seconds, people all over the city stopped what they were doing to remember the men, women, and children who died. Four F-14 jet planes flew over to honor those who were killed by the bomb. (church bells ringing and jets flying overhead) And two helicopters from the Oklahoma City Police Department's Aviation Unit flew over to honor the rescue workers.
MAN READING NAMES: Baylee Almon.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Then the names of all 168 people who were killed were read aloud as members of their families placed flowers on the ground where the Alfred P. Murrah Building once stood.
MAN READING NAMES: Diane Althouse. (pause) Rebecca Anderson. (pause) Pamela Cleveland Argo.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: As the official service was taking place, smaller, independent services were held around the city, this one, seven blocks away, at Emerson Alternative High School, the school located closest to the bomb site. Students and teachers alike lost friends and relatives in the disaster last year. Today, they planted a tree and placed ribbons to remember.
ANN ALLEN, Principal: In that moment's time, all of our lives changed. Not only did our life change, but the lives of people all over the United States and the world changed.
(BAGPIPES PLAYING DIRGE)
BETTY ANN BOWSER: When the official memorial service ended, families, friends, and survivors poured out of the site and walked in a procession six blocks to the Marriott Convention Center. Young and old, dignitaries, and ordinary people walked together. Some paused a long the way to shake hands with rescue workers. (singing) Inside the convention center, more than 10,000 people attended another larger service. Everyone who was there was invited because they had a direct connection to the bombing--ministers, rescue workers, volunteers, doctors, nurses, people who had heard the explosion early that morning on April 19th and ran to the site to help. They were not just Oklahomans. These were Americans who had come to the city last year from all over the United States. Many are members of emergency rescue teams trained for disasters. One of the reasons city leaders planned the memorial service was to provide a way for people to start the healing process, a subject Vice President Al Gore addressed.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Let there be no mistake--one year is a very short time. In the human heart, it can be the blink of an eye. The people of Oklahoma City are mourning still. I can feel that the icy cloud of grief has lifted some since Tipper and I visited here last spring, but it has not disappeared, and it will never leave for good. Your resoluteness has also taught the world something about the state of our union. In America, terror will not triumph. Let me say it again--terror will not triumph. (applause) The reason it will not is that because in our nation we settle our differences with dialogue and debate, we do not steal precious human lives.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: The service ended as families and survivors carried hundreds of candles as they exited a darkened convention center in a dramatic display of emotional unity. The day did not represent the end of the grieving process for Oklahoma City, but it did end on a note of hope.