U.S. Army Chaplain Lt. Col. Roberson gives communion to search and rescue workers across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, site of the worst domestic terrorist act in American history. A fertilizer bomb exploded causing catastrophic damage to the building and surrounding area and killing 169 and injuring over 500 innocent men, women and children.
Photograph by Tech. Sgt. Marvin Krause, U.S. Air Force

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  • On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb just outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The bomb killed 168 people, 19 of them infants and children in day care. Another 700 people were injured. The Oklahoma City bombing is the worst incident of domestic terrorism in American history.
     
    McVeigh was a Gulf War veteran, but did not support the U.S. government. He specifically targeted a federal building with a high occupancy rate. He thought more victims would draw attention to his anti-government cause. The day of the bombing, McVeigh carried a packet sealed with a bumper sticker bearing a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Scribbled beneath it, McVeigh wrote, “maybe now, there will be liberty.”
     
    McVeigh was arrested within hours of the bombing. He was tried and executed. Terry Nichols, who helped plan the bombing, is serving life in prison. Another terrorist, Michael Fortier, testified against McVeigh and Nichols and was sentenced to 12 years for his participation. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    consider Verb

    to think about.

    detonate Verb

    to cause something to explode.

    domestic terrorism Noun

    violent acts committed by citizens or residents of the targeted nation. Also called homegrown terrorism.

    execute Verb

    to put to death by order of the law or in a well-planned manner.

    federal Adjective

    having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    incident Noun

    event or happening.

    liberty Noun

    freedom.

    occupancy Noun

    condition of being in (occupying) a specific place.

    site Noun

    specific place where something is located.

    specific Adjective

    exact or precise.

    target Verb

    to establish something as a goal or aim.

    testify Verb

    to offer evidence in court.

    tyranny Noun

    abuse of power.

    veteran Noun

    person who has served their country in a military capacity.