• View of the grounds

    Oklahoma City

    National Memorial Oklahoma

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Downtown Oklahoma City c.1950's
Downtown Oklahoma City c. 1950's
Oklahoma Historical Society

"Who would ever have thought it would happen in Oklahoma City?"
Clint Dedek, Chief Investigator of Oklahoma County (The Daily Oklahoman, 04/20/95)

Destruction covered a 20 block area; over 300 buildings were damaged or destroyed, 16 needed torn down. Little did anyone guess that the morning of April 19, 1995 would forever change Oklahoma City.

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a nine-story, reinforced concrete frame structure designed in 1974 held seventeen agencies and 361 occupants.¹ Regional offices for the Social Security Administration and the United States Secret Service found a home here. The building contained recruiting offices for both the Army and the Marine Corps. The structure connected to a plaza and a four-level underground parking garage. Built to capitalize on available natural light, the north façade flaunted a full height window/wall system. No match for a weapon so large and too close to the building. Structurally, little could have prevented extensive damage to the Murrah building. Today's federal buildings, including the Oklahoma City Federal Building, encompass safety features engineered from the lessons of that day.

The Oklahoma City bombing narrative weaves its way through small town America. The story starts in Pendleton, New York, and Decker, Michigan the homes of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, respectively. It continues at Fort Riley, Kansas where they meet entering the army and unfolding with the events of Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho. The hometowns and families of the 168 people who passed away that morning stretch from Africa² to New Mexico.³ Their lives forever intertwined in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building that morning. All these people and places are an integral part of this tragic story.

Did You Know?

The field of empty chairs

There are 168 empty “chairs” where the Alfred P. Murrah building once stood at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Each chair symbolizes a person who died as a result of the bombing. More...