Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Recalls Victims of Oklahoma Bombing Praises Community's Example of Faith

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Recalls Victims of Oklahoma Bombing Praises Community's Example of Faith

Article excerpt

In a day filled with personal sorrow, public grief and religious reflection, President Bill Clinton on Friday remembered the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing a year ago. The president offered comfort in the Holy Week message of rebirth and Resurrection.

Aided by his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and six children who lived through the deadly blast, Clinton arranged a huge wreath of seasonal flowers in the barren field where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood. The building was destroyed April 19, 1995, when a truck bomb exploded, killing 168 people, including 18 children at a second-floor day-care center.

Clinton visited Oklahoma on Good Friday because he will be in Japan on the anniversary date. With a mournful bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" playing, several family members of the bombing victims looked on with tears in their eyes as Mrs. Clinton placed a teddy bear in the center of the wreath. She held the hand of 4-year-old Brandon Denny, who has undergone at least six brain surgeries and is still in fragile health because of the explosion. Each of the children then placed a red rose in the wreath - except 2-year-old Joseph Webber, who refused to let go of his rose. "I know there is nothing that anyone can do to bring back the children whose lives were taken from us, nothing we can do to sweep away the frightening memories that still linger in the children who survived," the president said later in brief remarks to dedicate a plaque for a new child-care center. "But what you have done is show our children that in the wake of evil, goodness can surround them and lift them up." While the president proceeded solemnly through the day's observances in Oklahoma, he made no effort to hide his mourning for Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown and 34 others who died Wednesday in a plane crash in Croatia. "On this very difficult and painful day for me, when I have lost a great and good friend, and a lot of gifted employees of the federal government . . . the power of your example is very much with me," Clinton told his audience of about 4,000 people at the Myriad Convention Center. …

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