O.K.C. and The War on Terror

by on April 19th, 2004

I was working for a Denver radio station in April of 1996 and got the word. Our talk show would be going to Oklahoma City to cover the one year anniversary of the Murrah Bombing. I was excited. This was my big break. Little did I know how much it would change my life.

Everyone was so nice to us. Mainly because we were the only station from Denver where the Timothy McVeigh trial would be held. I was given a list of victims willing to talk to the press. At least I thought that’s what it was.

It was really a list of people who did NOT want to meet the press.

I made forty phone calls that day. I wasn’t so excited anymore, just drained.

One lady did agree to come on. She had been on the deck of her condo about a block away from the Murrah Building. As she walked inside to her upper floor condo, the bomb blew up.

She was thrown through her living room. Through the living room wall, and into the kitchen. Then as the air was sucked back out, everything in her kitchen collapsed on her. She opened her eyes to see her condo flattened.

Unhurt, but dazed this woman went to check on her elderly neighbor. When the neighbor answered the door she was covered with glass from head to toe. She helped her neighbor out of that building a block away from OKC’s Ground Zero and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The Murrah Building blown apart, with the stench of death in the air. People in a four square block radius were milling around, trying to help or get help. The magnitude of the disaster wouldn’t sink in for hours.

We interviewed paramedics who, one year later, were still in therapy. They told their stories for our audience. We were all crying.

Later we went to the fence that had surrounded the site. Hundreds of people were there. Flowers, signs, cards, all sorts of mementos covered that chain link barrier. Just reading the cards brought another tear to my eyes. I left my press pass there. It was midnight.

It’s been nine years since the OKS bombing, yet those stories are fresh in my mind. I’ve also covered the Columbine massacre, and watched 9-11 unfold live before my eyes.

I never want to have to see the horror again. I never want to hear the crying. To see the pain and shock of such devastating and unexpected death and destruction.

Destruction terrorists want to heap upon us.

I now understand that we must fight those who would kill us. Fight those who want us to cower before them. Fight those who wish us ill because of what we cherish. To me The War on Terror is not a choice or an option. It’s vital that we stop these threats. That we stand up to terrorism around the world.

We Must Win!

We must do all we can to halt the anguish of terror. To do so honors the horrific memories of terror, including the ones born out of the nightmare in Oklahoma City nine years ago.

Darren Copeland