Oklahoma City Mourns 1995 Terrorist Bombing

In leading cities that had to bounce back after terrorists struck, Rudy Giuliani and Ron Norick share a common bond.

Giuliani was mayor of New York City at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Norick was in charge of Oklahoma City when a federal building bombing killed 168 people in 1995.

The way in which they were able to carry on will be the topic when the two meet Thursday in a symposium at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum marking the 12th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building — the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

Giuliani, who first visited the memorial last year, will address family members and survivors during the anniversary observance and then have an hourlong discussion with Norick that will be televised.

Mourners gather each year on April 19 at the former site of the federal building to observe the anniversary of the bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Participants will observe 168 seconds of silence followed by the reading of the names of the 168 victims by their children and family members.

Nancy Coggins, marketing and communications director for the memorial and museum, said the "fairly low-key" anniversary observance will be "a little more prominent" this year because of the presence of Giuliani, a Republican candidate for president.

Organizers said attention will also be focused on the deaths of 32 people at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., on Monday during a shooting rampage by a 23-year-old man who shot himself to death. It was the deadliest one-man shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

"Violence obviously is happening," Coggins said. "We hope there are ways we can reach out to them and offer support. They will be in our minds and in our hearts."

Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, 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 executed on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols, who met McVeigh in the Army, was convicted on federal and state bombing charges and is serving multiple 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 about 85 percent 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.