Program will honor OKC bombing victims

OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors and family members of those who died in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building will gather at its former site today to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the deadliest domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Hundreds of people are expected at the Oklahoma City National Memorial to remember the 168 people who were killed in the April 19, 1995, explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. More than 600 others were injured in the attack that caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage in parts of downtown Oklahoma City.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to speak during a ceremony that is scheduled to begin shortly before 9:02 a.m., the moment when the terrorist bomb was detonated in 1995.

Napolitano will discuss her agency's efforts to deter and disrupt evolving threats of terrorism. She also will tour the Memorial Museum, meet with first responders and participate in a panel discussion with Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., and others about the media's role in informing the public about terrorism.

The Oklahoma City federal building was destroyed when a truck containing a homemade ammonium-nitrate-and-fuel-oil bomb was detonated on the street in front of it.

A federal jury convicted Army veteran Timothy McVeigh of federal murder and conspiracy charges in 1997 and sentenced him to death. He was executed by lethal injection in 2001.

Federal prosecutors said McVeigh planned the attack as revenge for the deadly conclusion of a standoff between the FBI and members of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, that killed more than 70 people on April 19, 1993 — two years before the bombing.

McVeigh's Army buddy, Terry Nichols, was convicted on federal and state bombing-related charges and is serving multiple life sentences in a federal prison in Colorado.