Senate Minutes: Senate pauses to remember Oklahoma City bombing

This past Wednesday, the Oklahoma Senate paused to remember the 28th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. We passed a resolution remembering and honoring those who were killed and injured, recalling the heroics of our first responders and the generosity of Oklahomans who stepped in to help as they could in the aftermath.

The Murrah Federal Building bombing is one of those events that if you were old enough to remember it, you’ll also recall where you were and what you were doing when you found out. I was 28 and was working for the Oklahoma Bankers Association in Oklahoma City, though on April 19, 1995, I was at a conference in northeastern Oklahoma. But I vividly remember seeing the events unfold on television.

 I’d had a great childhood, and while I knew there were bad people, it was that day the full understanding that there was real evil in the world really, truly hit me – evil beyond the ability to comprehend, evidenced in the smoking debris of the Murrah Building. At first no fatalities were confirmed, but as search and rescue operations continued, the death toll climbed. When the rescue and recovery operations concluded, 168 men, women and children had been killed and hundreds more injured in the worst incident of home-grown terrorism in our nation’s history.

Like everyone else, my emotions ran the gamut. I felt unbelievably sad for the victims. These were someone’s sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, neighbors and friends. We also learned that inside the Murrah Building, there was a daycare center. Nineteen children and babies were murdered before their lives had really even begun, and we learned that three of the women who died in the bombing were pregnant. This was a tragic, senseless loss of precious lives.

Another emotion I felt was gratitude for the first responders who worked around the clock in the rescue and recovery operation, and the world watched as Oklahomans immediately volunteered to give blood and donate money to help the victims and their families. People also brought in food, water, equipment and clothing to support the rescue workers. First responders from around the country were unprepared for this level of generosity from strangers. Our citizens’ response came to be known as the Oklahoma Standard.

But I also felt incredibly proud to know that a long-time family friend, Trooper Charlie Hanger, from my hometown of Perry, would apprehend the bomber, Timothy McVeigh as he fled the scene of his crime, driving north on I-35. Charlie noticed a yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis without a car tag and pulled him over. Charlie’s law enforcement training and his instinct led him to take McVeigh to the county jail. He didn’t know at the time who McVeigh was or what he’d just done, but thank God he was there that day. Trooper Hanger’s actions ensured McVeigh was brought to justice. McVeigh was convicted and executed for his crimes and his co-conspirators sent to prison. 

Of course Charlie later became the Sheriff of Noble County, and after 48 years in law enforcement, he retired in 2020. Charlie is a humble, good man, just doing his job, but in every way, he is a true American Hero.

I will always feel tremendous sadness for those who were killed. Hundreds, if not thousands of others in our state were deeply impacted and will never be the same. But I am grateful the world saw the best of our state, proud of our citizens and first responders, and grateful and proud of the efforts of Charlie Hanger and countless other local, state and federal law enforcement officers who ensured justice was done. We will never forget.

Please feel free to contact my Capitol office with any questions or concerns you may have about legislation or other issues impacting our state at 405.521.5628 or at


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