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Families, Survivors Dedicate Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial at Private Service

Aired April 19, 2000 - 2:01 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: It was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil and it happened five years ago today. Oklahoma City dedicated a powerful memorial today to the 168 people who died in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It is a striking scene -- nine rows of stone and glass chairs, one for each floor of the Murrah Building, one chair for each victim. There are big chairs for the adults, 19 little chairs for the children killed that spring morning. A reflecting pool sits in the crater created by the massive bomb.

April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh's Ryder truck exploded, shearing the building and piercing so many lives. McVeigh sits on death row in an Indiana prison appealing his conviction. His army buddy, Terry Nichols, sits just blocks away from the memorial site at the county jail. He's awaiting a state trial on murder charges, one that could result in his own death sentence.

Frank Keating was governor of Oklahoma then and now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. FRANK KEATING (R), OKLAHOMA: To those who lost a mother or a father or a son or a daughter, you have to say I'm so sorry. This should never have occurred. To those who helped rebuild and provided the money to build this memorial, thank you -- from all over the United States, thank you; to all over the United States, thank you. To those who are studying terrorism, these kinds of incidents to assure that they don't recur, you know, redouble the effort. This cannot recur. This kind of tragedy, this kind of horror cannot recur. So very conflicted emotions, very conflicted messages. But at least we're all here together to pray together and work together to commit together that this won't happen again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: Governor Keating will join President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno at a public memorial service four hours from now.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Families and survivors dedicated the Oklahoma City bombing memorial at a private service this morning. The $10-million remembrance was paid for mainly by private funds. They read the names of the dead and walked among those empty chairs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL TRUST: You could have chosen to remember and to grieve very privately, but instead you chose to take a stand against terrorism and to raise a lasting tribute to those who perished, to the survivors who've suffered the horror of five years ago, and to all the caring and courageous who came from near and far to our aid.

DORIS JONES, FAMILY MEMBER: May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.

REV. 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.

JOHNSON: Ladies and gentlemen, will you please join me for 168 seconds of silence to remember each of our loved ones lost.

(168 SECONDS OF SILENCE)

(BELL RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clarence Eugene Wilson Sr., Francis Ann "Fran" Williams...

(CHOIR SINGING)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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