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Relatives, Survivors Gather to Dedicate Oklahoma City Memorial

Aired April 19, 2000 - 1:02 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Five years ago today, a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 149 adults and 19 children. This morning, relatives and survivors helped dedicate a memorial at the site where the building once stood.

CNN's Charles Zewe is there -- Charles.

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in fact, is the nation's newest national monument dedicated almost to the moment five years ago today that the bomb blew up, shearing off a third of the Murrah Federal Building and killing 168 people.

Today, a touching and powerful scene as thousands of relatives of those who were killed here, those who survived and those whose lives were changed, along with the rescuers, gathered. There were 168 moments of silence, a ringing of church bells at the exact moment the bomb went off, and a minister, Dr. Robert Allen reminding those gathered here that it's time to move on with their lives, but to never forget what took place here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT ALLEN, FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: Whether we want to admit it or not, we cannot go back and we cannot change what has happened. Perhaps the only thing that we can do is come today and dedicate this national memorial and hold on to the memories -- the memories that this field of empty chairs represents -- and treasure them; treasure them forever in our lives, and then arise, get up and go on with our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZEWE: And Allen said hate could tear down a building, but this would not ever be forgotten.

The building then transferred formally to the National Park Service and the federal government, which will run the memorial, which will be opened to the public in November.

Officials are saying as part of the memorial that they expect to have a museum that is being built along with the memorial open in the old journals records building sometime later in the year that will chronicle what took place here. Interestingly enough, no mention will be made here of Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols, the two conspirators convicted of having planted this bomb.

Later in the day, President Clinton will be here along with Attorney General Janet Reno for a public ceremony, officially dedicating this memorial. The president expected to touch on the impact of terrorism, the impact of violence. In fact, this is a memorial to -- dedicated to all those who died, those who survived and whose lives were changed. And certainly that number is in the tens of thousands of people here in Oklahoma -- Lou.

WATERS: Charles Zewe in Oklahoma City.

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