Oklahoma City Bombing
The horrific act of domestic terrorism known as the Oklahoma City Bombing happened on April 19, 1995, when a rental truck full of explosives exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There were 168 fatalities, including 19 children, and over 500 injuries, making this one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in United States history.
Former Army comrade Terry Nichols and disgruntled veteran Timothy McVeigh carried out the attack. McVeigh’s actions were inspired by his hatred of the government and his anger at how tragedies like Ruby Ridge and Waco were handled by authorities. The attack was an act of vengeance against what he saw as an oppressive federal administration.
The federal building was seriously damaged, and windows were shattered, as a result of the explosion. An enormous search-and-rescue operation was launched in response to the tragedy, and people all around the country expressed their condolences and solidarity.
An extensive investigation following the bombing led to the capture and conviction of McVeigh and Nichols. Nichols was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole, while McVeigh was killed by lethal injection in 2001.
A sobering warning of the potential for severe acts of violence on American soil, the Oklahoma City Bombing is also a monument to the strength of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Significant modifications were made to the security of federal buildings after the attack, and the need of addressing domestic extremism was brought to the forefront as a means of protecting the nation’s safety.