Oklahoma City remembers
OKLAHOMA CITY (CNN) -- Relatives attending a somber memorial in Oklahoma City stood silent for 168 seconds on Thursday, one second for each person killed in the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Church bells pealed "Amazing Grace" at the end of the quiet that Memorial Foundation chairman Rowland Denman warned "would feel like an eternity."
"As we have for the past six years, we come together today to honor and respect those who were so senselessly taken from us, those who have persevered (through) so much pain and those who worked so selflessly to help on that terrible morning," said Robert Johnson, chairman of the board of trustees of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
"Your loved ones have not been forgotten and the memorial is a fitting tribute to assure that they never will be," he said.
The memorial and its 168 glass and bronze chairs, bearing the names of the victims, stand on the building's former site, which also holds an indoor museum.
The ceremony included the reading of the names of the victims -- as each name was read, family members walked to the chairs to sit or place flowers and mementos.
The ceremony took place less than a month from the scheduled execution of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh.
"April is a very hard month for me to deal with," Dan McKinney, whose wife died in the bombing, said before the ceremony. "It used to be such a beautiful month. Now I wish we could just skip the whole month, it hurts so much."
Though a memorial has been held each year on April 19, this year it has gained added attention because of the impending execution of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft met with those who want to witness McVeigh's May 16 execution and decided he would allow a viewing via closed-circuit television for survivors, family members and rescue workers.
The Justice Department released its plan for the viewing on Thursday, shortly after the memorial service. More than 250 people will be allowed to see McVeigh's execution at the training facility of the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City.
The Justice Department also said that it had chosen by lottery the 10 people from Oklahoma City who will travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, to witness the execution in person. Officials said they were in the process of notifying those 10.
The list includes seven members of families of deceased victims and three survivors of the blast, two of whom suffered physical injuries. They will view the execution from a viewing room adjacent to the death chamber in the federal prison in Terre Haute.
The government has also set aside a private area in Terre Haute for those who may want to be near the place of execution but were not selected in the lottery. They will not be able to observe the execution.
Wednesday, a federal judge turned down a request by Entertainment Network, Inc, an Internet company, to broadcast the execution on the Web . Company head David Marshlack has promised to appeal.
"If for some reason it was to hold up the execution, we'll withdraw from the appeal," Marshlack said. "We don't want to stop justice from being served; we just thought it would be all right to view it."
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