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1995: Your memories of the Oklahoma bombing

The Albert Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City was ripped apart by a bomb a few minutes after 0900 on 19 April 1995.

The blast from the half-ton car bomb was so powerful that - in the words of one witness - it peeled away one side of the building like a giant can opener.

Despite the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, terrorism in the United States was still a distant and foreign threat in 1995. The Oklahoma attack left the whole country feeling vulnerable.

Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh was later convicted and executed for carrying out the bombing which left 168 dead, including 19 young children.

Your memories

I live in Oklahoma City and was in third grade when this happened.

My first memory of the moment it happened was the window panes of my classroom shaking. We heard a distant boom and then the windows began to shake.

Shortly after, we felt a vibration. We initially thought it was an earthquake or sonic boom.

The thought of something like this happening in Oklahoma City still shocks me. It seems so random and out of place, as Oklahoma doesn't seem to be of any major importance to the outside world.

I saw how much it impacted the rest of the world, however, as support flooded in from all over the place. Rescue workers flew in to aid in the rescue mission. I even received letters through my school from other students around the world wishing me peace and solidarity.

This event, as well as others that occurred before and after, leave me longing for a world without such senseless slaughter.
Chris Hardin, USA

I was only 9 years old when all of this happened, but I still remember the event well.

At the time, I only lived about 20 or so miles from OKC. When the blast went off, I was at school playing outside during P.E. class.

I remember hearing a small boom sound, but I figured it was only a sonic boom from a jetplane, but there wasn't one in the sky.

I thought it was odd, but I thought nothing of it. Besides, it seemed logical since an airforce base was nearby. Little did I realize what it was.

My classmates and I all went to class when P.E. was over and were told the news when we got there. My teacher was kind of in awe as she told us. I think we all thought it was some kind of joke, but it turned out it wasn't.

All day, she would go down to our principal's office every once in a while to check and see what the latest news was. Later that day, I got home and turned on the TV and saw what had happened for the first time. It was so strange to see. I hadn't seen anything quite like it before.
Michael Payne, Oklahoma, US

On April 19, 1995 I was in fifth grade and it was the day before my birthday.

My class was supposed to go downtown to the theatre that is only a few blocks from the Murrah building.

I remember hearing a rumble and none of us knew what it was. Later they came and told us that our field trip was cancelled.

Rumours flew around the school and eventually we found out what happened. None of us knew quite how big it was.

My dad worked down town and his windows were blown out. It was an awful day and I will never forget it or the people it affected.

I remember when I lived there on April 19 we would always have a moment of silence and most of the rest of the day was spent watching TV or telling the stories of life and death that we knew.

It changed me forever. Who would have thought that something like this would happen to boring Oklahoma!
Deanna, USA

I was at Fort Rucker Alabama, going to Rappel Master School for the Army.

We just got to the tower for the days training, and Military Police were running everywhere, lights and sirens.

A few minutes later the teachers told up to go back to our rooms and wait for instructions. They said we had an attack from an unknown person or group in OK city.

The military post was locked down, no-one in and no-one out. The lock down went on for four hours. They came to our rooms and said training was cancelled for the day. Our group went to the nearest TV to get the latest.
Micah B Mason, US

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