Former President Bill Clinton and Others Remember Oklahoma City Bombing on Its 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, a car bomb exploded outside Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people—19 of them children—and injuring hundreds more. To honor those impacted by the devastating incident on its quarter-century anniversary, the city marked a special, virtual ceremony on Sunday morning in accordance with social distancing regulations implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma City's National Memorial Museum, which temporarily closed its doors last month in response to the United States' outbreak, shared a pre-taped commemorative video to its website and YouTube channel featuring remarks from Senator James Lankford, Governor Kevin Sitt and Mayor David Holt, in addition to Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

The video included footage from the 1995 bombing and prayer service that followed, as well as comments from family members who lost loved ones in the attack. Names of all those killed were read aloud alongside their individual photos, and viewers were asked to join in 168 seconds of silence as an act of remembrance.

"This morning, we gathered virtually to look back, to think forward & to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing," Holt tweeted on Sunday, sharing a link to the ceremony and encouraging the public to watch.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was in office when the bombing took place and traveled to Oklahoma City to speak at the subsequent prayer service, also recognized the occasion in a tributary message posted to Twitter.

"Today I am thinking about all those who lost their lives 25 years ago in Oklahoma City, their loved ones, and everyone whose lives changed forever that day," Clinton wrote on Sunday morning. In his tweet's comments section, he acknowledged the additional set of life-altering circumstances prompted by the pandemic. "As we face another unprecedented challenge, we should repeat the promise we made to Oklahoma City in 1995 to all Americans today: we have not lost each other, we have not lost America, and we will stand together for as many tomorrows as it takes," he added.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also acknowledged the anniversary: "Earlier this year, I visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. We'll always remember that day 25 years ago & the lives of those who were killed. As we now face this unprecedented crisis, I know the same tenacious spirit that brought us together then will pull us through again."

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who covered the event 25 years ago, recalled in a tweet Sunday:

Two Americans and opponents of the federal government, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, carried out the attack. McVeigh was later convicted and executed in 2001, while Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

The memorial museum, which was constructed in the bombing's aftermath at the former site of Oklahoma City's destroyed federal building, officially announced its closure on April 10. "This was a difficult decision, but after hearing reports from the CDC, state and city leaders, we had no other choice," the museum's leadership wrote in a statement shared to its website. The statement confirmed the museum would remain closed throughout the duration of Oklahoma City's shelter-in-place order, currently slated to extend through at least April 30.

In addition to Sunday's virtual ceremony, the museum has created a mobile application for members of the public to tour its contents online. It has also asked those affected by the bombing to share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram alongside the hashtag #WeRemember.

Updated 5:31 PM ET.

Oklahoma City National Memorial
Civilians pay their respects to lives lost in the Oklahoma City bombing on its 12th anniversary in 2007. Amid shelter-in-place orders established during the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday's 25th anniversary ceremony took place virtually. Briah Harkin/Getty