Tuesday marked a somber 10th anniversary of the nation’s worst act of domestic terrorism, the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at a ceremony that honored the survivors, the rescuers and the endurance of a damaged city.
“Oklahoma City changed us all. It broke our hearts and lifted our spirits and brought us together,” said Clinton, who was in office on the sunny morning that Timothy McVeigh delivered his bomb in a Ryder truck.
Children who lost their parents in the tragedy recited the names of those killed and mourners gently laid bouquets on empty chairs symbolizing each victim, the Associated Press reports.
In a church that served as a temporary morgue after the blast, more than 1,600 people remembered those who died with 168 seconds of silence starting at 9:02 a.m., the moment that the building collapsed into a heap of desks, concrete, and bodies.
Across the street at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, in the grassy field where the building once stood, 168 empty chairs were a solemn reminder of the carnage of a decade earlier, AP reports. Teddy bears were placed on miniature chairs representing the 19 children slain in the building’s daycare.