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Terrorism: A new American way?

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Bombing brings memories too close to home for U.S.

July 28, 1996
Web posted at 2:00 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Anne McDermott

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Oklahoma City started it all -- the spectacle of spectacular home-grown horror.

What broke so many Americans were the babies. How could someone hurt them? How could someone kill them? And why in the Heartland?

It was shocking and painful and awful when U.S. troops were killed in a bomb blast in Saudi Arabia last month, but the hurt was lessened for many because it didn't take place here in America.

But it is incredible to believe a U.S. jet, taking off from a U.S. airport, could be a terrorist target. And although investigators have not said that criminal activity brought down TWA Flight 800 last Wednesday, it is a definite possibility, if not a probability.

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And then a bomb blast at the Olympic Games, right here in the United States. Impossible, we would have thought, just a few years ago. No way. Couldn't be. Never happen.

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But it did happen. And some see this terrorism as America's brutal coming of age, in a very brutal world.

As one woman in Atlanta put it, "I'm really kind of surprised, to tell you the truth, that we've gone this long without acts of terror.

"I believe that probably it will continue," she said. "It is a sad commentary that people have to be so fearful."

A worried nation

One little girl visiting the Olympics in Atlanta nodded vigorously when asked if Saturday's bombing shook her up. Her father said he worries about his family and his nation. (85K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

At a Los Angeles coffee shop, they're still taking it all in. "It just sort of really hits at home," said one young man.

Reflected his friend, "It's a sad and bad feeling, leaves a sour taste in your mouth."

However, many people, say they may be traumatized and scared, but they won't let terror rule their life.

In explaining her decision to attend Olympic events following Saturday's bombing, one woman showed humor and defiance. (43K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, a former Olympic athlete watches the news of terror in Atlanta and remembers back 24 years to similar terror in Munich. Esther Roth, present at the 1972 Munich Olympics, says it gives her no pleasure to see Americans learn about terrorism as she had to.

"Now they see it's all over the world."

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