OKLA. CITY — On a chilly Friday morning, Michelle Cregan helped family members place flowers at the chair honoring her grandmother Katherine Louise Cregan.
Katherine was a 60-year-old widow devoted to three sons, two grandsons and her three daughters when someone she never knew would end her life. She was a Social Security Administration employee working on the first floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Okahoma City.
At 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with explosives near the building and detonated the bomb that sheared the entire north side of the building, murdering 168 men, women and children. Hundreds more were injured, leaving many with lingering physical and emotional scars.
Eighteen years later, the memories of the day that changed a city, a state and a nation forever are still painfully fresh for Michelle.
"it's hard to believe it's been 18 years because it still seems like yesterday that it happened," she said. "Those feelings are still pretty raw. Especially with what happened in Boston it brings back a lot of memories. Our hearts go out to them."
Cregan said her thoughts have been with the survivors and families of the victims. She spoke of her torment waiting to know if her family member was OK.
"That was one of the hardest things, not knowing," Cregan said.
The Oklahoma City bombing was the worst act of homegrown terrorism in U.S. history.
Due to Friday morning's chilly weather, the anniversary ceremony was held indoors across the street at the First United Methodist Church.
Gary Pierson, chairman of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation, said the church was determined to rebuild after suffering significant damage "rather than succumb to the forces of evil."
Pierson said the nation will never forget the events that transpired on April 19, 1995.