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.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora