April 19, 1997 – a day still fresh in most peoples memories – the day terrorism arrived with a homegrown face. The Federal Building in Oklahoma City was scene of the worst act of domestic terrorism in our country’s history. 168 people died when a truck laden with explosives, went off in front of the Edward P. Murrah federal Building.
Even two years on, the sense of stunned shock was pervasive and palpable as one second of silence was observed for each of the victims of the bombing. The mostly destroyed building was slated to be completely torn down later in the year as a National Memorial was expected to be officially passed – but in the meantime, all that was left of the Edward P. Murrah building were ruins and a stark reminder that hate can also carry a familiar face.
Meanwhile, flood waters from the Red River were flowing freely through Grand Forks North Dakota after an earthen dike constructed by engineers proved no match for the river as flood waters swept into the city, forcing evacuation of some 2,000 families near the river banks.
And the Northwest Airlines concourse at Detroit National airport was shut down for over two hours overnight, after a woman passing a metal detector set it off. And instead of stopping, she ran. It forced a shut down and rescreening over everyone boarding planes or readying for takeoff.
And two Popular Culture figures were getting their last wish on this day; Psychedelic Guru Timothy Leary was to get his ashes rocketed into space via a Pegasus Rocket scheduled to orbit the earth for six years on a scientific mission. Also on board were the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry who also requested his final trip be to the final frontier.
And that’s a sample of what went on, this April 19, 1997 as broadcast by CBS Radio Hourly News.