|Updated: 4/19/2013 1:43 pm
||Published: 4/19/2013 1:11 pm
Friday marked the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing when 168 people were killed, including 19 children, and more than 680 were injured.
The bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was the most destructive act of terrorism in the country in 1995, 18 years later the city continues to grieve.
Law enforcement was on hand, including the Oklahoma City Bomb Squad and Homeland Security. They did a “routine sweep” of the area surrounding the Memorial with bomb dogs making sure the area was safe.
At 8:55 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church, the annual anniversary remembrance ceremony began. If it wasn’t he 168 seconds of silence that drew tears, it was the national anthem.
Friends, families and survivors of the Oklahoma City Bombing came to remember the tragedy they’ve sworn never to forget.
Gary Pierson, Chairman of the Oklahoma City National Foundation said, “It all started as peaceful day 18 years ago, but at 9:01 am everything changed”
“I can still remember so vividly being on the scene that day,” shared Governor Mary Fallin.
She was Lieutenant Governor at the time, and Friday morning she painted the scene of that fateful day, focusing more on the city’s resilience and ability to bounce back.
“This tragedy, it could’ve crippled our city, but it didn’t.”
Then with shaky voices and tearful eyes, daughters, mothers, nephews read the names of the 168 victims, at least one them personal to each of them.
In the face of the recent Boston Marathon Bombings, Congressman James Lankford says those 18 years of grieving and healing all come rushing back.
“All the raw emotion comes back again,” Lankford began. “And we realize it’s still extremely tender to us.”
“Everybody felt it, everybody knew somebody that was in the building and lost someone,” Jonathon Marcoulides tells FOX23. He says the day is etched in his memory.
Norman asked if he remembers exactly what he was doing the morning the bomb went off.
“Very much, I was in my drive way,” Marcoulides said. “I was starting my car the exactly second the bomb went off. My roommate rushed out because he thought my car had blown out, and we 10 miles away, that’s how incredible [it was.]”
Governor Fallin also recalled that moment, and the people, many hoping to help, but some others with seemingly little hope.
“I can just heard in my mind the crunch of the grass and stepping over some parts of automobiles,” Fallin started. “I can also remember the grim look on people’s faces as we came upon the first responders and people who were on the scene themselves.”
Kathy Dutton was one of them.
“[I remember] injured people all over the place, people screaming and crying and looking for their loved ones. [I was] looking for him,” she says recalling the chaos.
Dutton’s three-year-old nephew died that day. It’s that nephew, Zachary Chavez, and the 167 others who died that took center stage at Friday’s ceremony.
Fallin promised, “they will never be forgotten.”