OKLAHOMA CITY – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking Thursday at ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, said the city's response to that deadly attack serves as an example that can help others.
The people of Oklahoma City "became a model of compassion and strength, both, a model that helped us several years later get through Sept. 11 and a model that will help the people of Virgina Tech get through the terrible agonies that they are going through right now," he said.
Giuliani's comments came after 168 seconds of silence were observed, one for each person killed in the explosion at the federal building.
Mourners gather each April 19 at the former site of the building site, now the Oklahoma City National Memorial, to observe the anniversary of the bombing, which also injured hundreds.
Attention was also being focused in this year's ceremony on killings of 32 people at Virginia Tech by a student who then killed himself.
Giuliani said much can be learned from the way rescue workers were able to control their fears as they learned to navigate the danger without letting fear control them as they rescued people from the damaged federal building.
"That's a lesson that we all have to take to heart as we face the reality of having to live with the aftermath of these attacks whether it is the one here or Sept. 11 or what just happened at Virginia Tech," he said.
In the federal building attack, a cargo truck packed with two tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil was detonated in front of the nine-story federal building on April 19, 1995.
Timothy McVeigh was apprehended less than two hours later. He was convicted of federal murder charges and was executed June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols, who met McVeigh in the Army, was convicted of federal and state bombing charges and is serving life prison sentences.
Another Army buddy, Michael Fortier, pleaded guilty to not telling authorities in advance about the bomb plot and agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols. Fortier was released from a federal prison in January 2006 after serving most of a 12-year sentence.
Prosecutors said the bombing was a twisted attempt to avenge the deaths of about 80 people in the government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, exactly two years earlier.