OKLAHOMA CITY — Today marked 17 years since the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was struck by one of the largest acts of domestic terrorism ever.
Hundreds gathered for Thursday’s ceremony on the grounds of the memorial.
Bombing survivor Richard Williams said, “I am here today because of one of those heroes and first responders, Police Officer Terry Yakey.”
There are hundred of stories, thousands of memories, all filling the memorial grounds.
Williams was on the first floor of the Murrah Building, just 75 feet from the explosion.
He said, “I will always see that building standing there.”
A memory etched in his mind and a place where he now finds serenity.
He said, “It’s somber at first but then it’s healing.”
It is a place where he’s not alone.
Nancy Fialkowski and her husband came early, grabbing a front row seat.
Their daughter, Jamie, was killed in the bombing.
They don’t come to this memorial every year and have never been interviewed about that day.
Nancy said, “This is not one of my favorite things to do.”
The pain is still hard to bear, but Thursday they came to support their other daughter, Anna Marie.
This year Anna Marie had the privilege of reading the victim’s names, including her sister’s.
Anna Marie said, “She was a wonderful person with a lot of work left to do.”
After the ceremony they headed to Jamie’s chair, 13 rows over and three back from the 9:01 wall.
They, along with other families and survivors, like Richard, stopped to honor the fallen and once again keep the promise that we will never forget.
Williams said, “The end result here is we can survive. There is resilience as evidence by the tree and we can survive and move forward but we will never forget.”
The Fialkowski’s said to this day they can still hear their daughter singing.
She was one of the bass singers for the Sweet Adelines.