Oklahoma City Bombing Facts

Bill Clinton

Definition and Summary of the Oklahoma City Bombing
Summary and Definition: The Oklahoma City Bombing occurred on April 19, 1995 at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City. Americans and the media assumed that the devastating bombing, following on the heels of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, was another act of terrorism perpetrated on the homeland by terrorists from the Middle East. The initial assumptions were wrong.

Oklahoma City Bombing: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols
The men who planned and carried out the Oklahoma City Bombing were Americans. Ex-Army soldier and security guard Timothy McVeigh planted the truck bomb and his co-conspirator Terry Nichols, another ex-army soldier, helped make the bomb. The two American anarchists planted the bomb in revenge for the federal handling taken during the deadly confrontations at the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege in Idaho and the 1993 Waco siege in Texas. The Oklahoma City Bombing resulted in widespread destruction and the death of 168 innocent people and injuries to nearly 700.

   
  

Oklahoma City Bombing

Oklahoma City Bombing
 

Oklahoma City Bombing
Bill Clinton was the 42nd American President who served in office from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. One of the important and devastating events during his presidency was the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Oklahoma City Bombing.

When was the Oklahoma City Bombing? The date of the Oklahoma City Bombing was April 19, 1995

What kind of bomb was used in the Oklahoma City Bombing? The bomb used in the Oklahoma City Bombing was deadly cocktail of diesel fuel, ammonium nitrate agricultural fertilizer and other chemicals

Who planned and carried out the Oklahoma City Bombing? The Oklahoma City Bombing was perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Lori and Michael Fortier were considered accomplices for their foreknowledge of the planning of the bombing.

What is the address of the Oklahoma City Bombing? The address of the Oklahoma City Bombing was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, 200 Northwest 5th Street, Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.

Who designed the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial? The Oklahoma City Bombing was designed by Oklahoma City architects Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg. The "Field of Empty Chairs" marks the footprint of the bombed building. The address of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is 620 N. Harvey, Oklahoma City, OK.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts for kids
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Oklahoma City Bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts for kids

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 1: Definition: The Oklahoma City Bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children under the age of six and resulted in injuries to nearly 700 other innocent people.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 2: The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing brought the realization to Americans that their homeland was vulnerable to terrorist attacks from the Middle East. The Oklahoma City Bombing brought the realization that such terrible acts of mass destruction and US Domestic Terrorism could also be committed by Americans.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 3: Timothy McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was convicted and executed by lethal injection for the Oklahoma City Bombing. Terry Nichols (born April 1, 1955) was convicted of being an accomplice in the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 4: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols met in 1988 when they were both in the same platoon in the US Army. The pair remained friends when they returned to civilian life and both shared the same anti-gun control and radical, anti government views. 

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 5: Both men were associated with extreme right-wing movements, white supremacists and the militant Patriot Movement that rejects the legitimacy of the federal government and law enforcement. Timothy McVeigh became obsessed with 'The Turner Diaries', a 1978 novel by William Luther Pierce, that urged violent action against the United States government

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 6: On April 19, 1993 McVeigh and Nichols became enraged as they watched the TV coverage of the Waco Siege. McVeigh drove from Michigan to Waco, Texas to show his support of those killed in the compound, swearing revenge on the federal government for their handling of the Waco siege and at a similar incident a year earlier in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 7: On October 12, 1993 Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols drive to Elohim City ("The City of God"), a 400 acre compound on Oklahoma-Arkansas border for white supremacist and and anti-government members of the militant right.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 8: On September 12, 1994 Timothy McVeigh participates in military maneuvers and paramilitary exercises at Elohim City.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 9: The next day, September 13, 1994, saw the 'Federal Assault Weapons Ban' passed by Congress. The new law included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms. It was the "final straw" for McVeigh and he decides to take direct action against the government.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 10: McVeigh and Nichols began developing plans to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City with the intention of bombing a government building and the government employees within that building who represented the government. Their purpose was to deter the federal government from using force against groups like those in Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 11: The Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was selected as the target for the bombing because it housed multiple federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) (which was involved in the Waco siege), United States Secret Service (USSS), Social Security Administration (SSA) and recruiting offices for both the Army and the Marine Corps.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 12: The Murrah Federal complex was a nine-story office building with two one-story ancillary wings and a multi-level parking garage

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 13: The Murrah Federal Building held approximately 550 employees and provided a day care center on the second floor for the young children of the workers.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 14: The men began to implement their plan to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in September 1994. To help finance the plan, Terry Nichols carried out a robbery, planned by Tim McVeigh, of a rich Arkansas gundealer.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 15: Timothy McVeigh purchased ammonium nitrate agricultural fertilizer, a key ingredient for the bomb, in Herington, Kansas, where he also rented a storage unit.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 16: The bomb contained ammonium nitrate, diesel fuel, nitro-methane, Tovex, a water-gel explosive composed of ammonium nitrate and methylammonium nitrate. Primadet blasting caps,  used to detonate the bomb, were stolen from a local quarry in Marion, Kansas.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 17: Timothy McVeigh reportedly acquired his bomb making skills by picking up ideas from right-wing literature and by conducting experiments on an abandoned farm.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 18: Terry Nichols continued to assist in the bombing plans right up to the day before the explosion but he refused to be involved on the day of the bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 19: On April 15, 1995 Timothy McVeigh, using the name "Robert Kling," rented a Ryder truck to use for the bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 20: On April 16, 1995 McVeigh and Nichols drove to Oklahoma City to park the getaway car

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 21: On April 18, 1995 Terry Nichols loaded explosives from the Kansas storage unit into the Ryder truck, and then met Timothy McVeigh near Geary Lake, Kansas, to assist in mixing the bomb ingredients.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 22: The Oklahoma City Bombing was planned to take place the next day on April 19, 1995. On the day of the bombing Terry Nichols stayed at home with his family in Herington, Kansas. Timothy McVeigh went to Oklahoma City to become a mass murderer.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 23: The date selected for the Oklahoma City Bombing, April 19, was highly significant as it marked two anniversaries with multiple historical meanings. April 19, 1993  was the date that federal agents raided the compound that ended the Waco Siege. Patriots Day is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 that marked the beginning of the armed uprising by colonialists against British control

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 24: A bumper sticker was later found in Timothy McVeigh's getaway car carrying the Samuel Adams quote,

"When the Government Fears the People, there is Liberty.
When the People Fear the Government, there is Tyranny"

Timothy McVeigh added his own words to the quote "Maybe now, there will be liberty!"

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 25: On the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995 Timothy McVeigh wore a T-shirt bearing the Latin phrase "Sic semper tyrannis" a shortened version of "Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis"  which means "Thus always I bring death to tyrants".

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 26: April 19, 1995 was also the date that white supremacist Richard Snell was executed. Richard Snell was connected with several of the men in Elohim City involved in a plot to attack federal buildings. Richard Snell had repeatedly told prison officials that there would be a big bombing and explosion on the day of his execution.

Continued...

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts for kids

Facts about the Oklahoma City Bombing for kids
The following fact sheet continues with facts about the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing for kids.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts for kids

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 27: On the morning of April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked the rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Inside the truck was the powerful bomb made out of a deadly cocktail of chemicals.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 28: Timothy McVeigh ignited one timed fuse, then another, got out of the truck, locked the door, and headed towards his getaway car.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 29: At precisely 9:02 a.m., the bomb exploded. Most of the Murrah Federal Building was reduced to rubble, dozens of cars were incinerated and numerous nearby buildings were damaged or destroyed. It was the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 30: 168 men, women and children were killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing. 19 of those killed were the babies, toddlers and children in the daycare center.  Nearly 700 other innocent people were injured in the explosion.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 31: Some victims in the Murrah Federal Building fell five or six floors to their deaths as the structure partially pancaked. A massive crater opened on the street in front of the Murrah Federal Building, surrounded by a tremendous amount of debris and a crowd of crying, shocked, injured, and dying people. Bodies and body parts were everywhere

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 32: Police, ambulance and firefighters rushed to the heartbreaking scene of the bombing. Other people tried to give comfort and first aid to the many hundreds of victims.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 33: The bomb damaged 347 buildings in the immediate area of the explosion. Thirty buildings were heavily damaged and since then approximately sixteen buildings have been torn down.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 34: Timothy McVeigh left the city in his getaway car, but he did not get far. A little over an hour later, Charles Hanger, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, pulled Timothy McVeigh over near Perry, Oklahoma because his car was missing its license plate. He had no idea who McVeigh was or what he had done, but he arrested McVeigh when he discovered McVeigh had a concealed handgun.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 35: On April 20, the rear axle of the rented Ryder truck was located. The vehicle identification number that was traced to a body shop in Junction City, Kansas. Employees at the shop helped the FBI put together a drawing of the man who had rented the van. FBI Agents circulated the drawing around town and Tim McVeigh was identified

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 36: On April 21, 1995 Timothy McVeigh was arrested by federal authorities. Evidence against McVeigh mounted as FBI Agents found traces of the chemicals used in the explosion on McVeigh’s clothes.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 37: During the investigation it was discovered that a friend of McVeigh’s named Terry Nichols had helped build the bomb and that another man, Michael Fortier, had been aware of the bomb plot.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 38: Terry Nichols voluntarily turned himself in in Herington, Kansas. On May 10, 1995 he charged in connection with the bombing

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 39: Michael Fortier and his wife Lori were implicated in the plot. They testified against both McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a 12-year prison term for Michael Fortier and immunity for Lori Fortier .

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 40: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols shared a cell block that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 41: Timothy McVeigh was convicted on 11 counts of murder, conspiracy and using a weapon of mass destruction and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. He was executed on June 11, 2001 as survivors and relatives of victims watch on closed-circuit television.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 42: December 23, 1997 Terry Nichols was convicted on federal charges of conspiracy and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms, without the possibility of parole.  He is serving his sentence at the Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 43: Michael Fortier was convicted for failing to notify authorities of McVeigh and Nichols' plans to bomb the Murrah Federal Building. He was released from jail on January 20, 2006.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 44: On April 19, 2000, five years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum was officially dedicated.  The memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers and all whose lives were changed forever on April 19, 1995.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 45: The "Field of Empty Chairs" in the memorial consists of 168 empty chairs made from glass, bronze, and stone representing those who lost their lives, with their names etched in the glass base of each chair.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 46: The Survivor Tree, a one hundred year old American Elm, is the only tree in the surrounding area that survived the Oklahoma City bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 47: The Survivor Tree stands in the memorial as a beacon of hope, survival and resiliency. The inscription around the Survivor Tree reads:

"The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us".

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 48: Following the Oklahoma City Bombing the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was signed into law on April 24, 1996, increasing protections afforded to federal workers and the facilities they work in.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 49: During the years following the Oklahoma City Bombing increased scrutiny of right-wing extremist groups and individuals resulted in a large number of arrests of white supremacists and anti-government extremists primarily on charges related to weapons, explosives, and conspiracy.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts - 50: The Oklahoma City Bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil with the most deaths, injuries and property damage until the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Oklahoma City Bombing Facts for kids

Oklahoma City Bombing - President Bill Clinton Video
The article on the Oklahoma City Bombing provides detailed facts and a summary of one of the important events during his presidential term in office.

Oklahoma City Bombing

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Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols
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