News / USA

April 19 Brings US Painful Memories

April 19 Brings Painful Memoriesi
X
April 19, 2013 8:03 PM
As events continue to unfold in connection with Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston, Americans are marking some other somber anniversaries that fall just days after that attack. April 19 is the anniversary of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, and the 1995 terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington on the anniversaries and their significance.
As events continue to unfold in connection with Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston, Americans are marking some other somber anniversaries that fall just days after that attack. April 19 is the anniversary of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, and the 1995 terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City.

They are tragic images seared into America’s collective memory, and both took place on April 19.

The 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Texas and resulting fire killed more than 70 members of a radical religious sect after a confrontation with federal officers.

An April 21, 1995 file photo shows the moon over the wreckage of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.An April 21, 1995 file photo shows the moon over the wreckage of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
x
An April 21, 1995 file photo shows the moon over the wreckage of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
An April 21, 1995 file photo shows the moon over the wreckage of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Two years later, a devastating truck bomb ripped apart the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds of others.

Former soldier Timothy McVeigh was convicted of that attack and was executed in 2001.

Since then, the date of April 19 has taken on special significance, according to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He monitors radical right wing groups in the U.S. and spoke to VOA via Skype.

“Well April 19th has become a kind of iconic date in the radical right in the United States," said Potok. "That really begins because that is the day in 1775 when the opening shots of the American Revolution are fired, of course, in Lexington and Concord.”

Another notable mid-April tragedy was the high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.

The anniversaries are often a time for sad reflection by Americans, but also a source of concern for law enforcement.

Former federal prosecutor Aitan Goelman was on the team that tried the Oklahoma City bombing case. He recalled the impact of the bombing on the American public.

“It was a real shock to the system, and the fact that it took place in Oklahoma City, in the heartland, and that it turned out not to be a Muslim fanatic but a homegrown American terrorist, I think, shook people up a great deal,” he said.

And Goelman said there is a direct linkage between the Waco standoff and the Oklahoma City attack carried out by McVeigh.

“He viewed Oklahoma City as payback for Waco," he said. "And the date, April 19, that was not coincidence. McVeigh deliberately chose that date because it was the Waco anniversary.”

The Oklahoma City case highlighted McVeigh’s links with right wing anti-government militia groups.

Those groups began to fade in the late 1990’s but are now making a comeback, said Mark Potok.

“Until 2009, immediately after Barack Obama’s election, [is] when we saw absolutely tremendous growth," he said. "There were 149 of these groups by our count in the year 2008. By last year, 2012, that number had reached 1,360.”

The recent focus in Washington on gun control following the Connecticut school shooting is also stirring passions among extremist groups on the right, said former prosecutor Aitan Goelman.

“Gun control is a hot button issue for the lunatic fringe," he said. "They see any even modest step toward controlling guns as the slippery slope, the beginning of the end to when some new world order or some U.N.-backed federal government is going to come in and pry everybody’s guns out of their hands.”

And so even as Boston copes in the aftermath of this latest terror attack, April 19 brings painful reminders of past tragedies and the need to be prepared for future threats, both foreign and domestic.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid