The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 18, 2013

Boston, Oklahoma City share a legacy of pain

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — To the people of Boston. Take heart, things will get better.

Time will pass, the dead will be buried, the injured will heal as best they can, suspects will be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced, the bomb damage will be repaired and memorials will be erected.

But make no mistake, the pain will never go away, ever. Time will pass and it will fade somewhat over time, but it will always be there.

You will be forever changed. You will be stronger, prouder, more determined to never let another heinous crime like the one that occurred on your streets earlier this week happen again.

But life will never be the same. You will mark time by events that occurred prior to April 15, 2013, and those that will follow after.

In your city, April 15 will never again be known simply as the deadline for filing federal income tax.

We know. April 19 will never again be just another day in Oklahoma.

Eighteen years ago today, a sunny, ordinary Wednesday, a rented truck loaded with anhydrous ammonia fertilizer and fuel oil exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, including 19 children under age 6, and injuring more than 600.

The state’s capital has never been the same. The healing process is ongoing, as it will be with you.

In the coming weeks and months you will hug, you will cry, you will grieve, you will stand together in solidarity in the face of the black heart of evil.

You have heard the president tell you of your courage and resilience, as did the people of Oklahoma City.

“Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act.”

“You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes.”

The first quote came from President Barack Obama on Thursday at an interfaith prayer service in your city. The second came from President Bill Clinton at a memorial prayer service held April 23, 1995, in Oklahoma City.

During that service, Clinton read from a letter he received from a young widow whose husband was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. The woman’s words, forged from tragedy, ring true today.

“The anger you feel is valid, but you must not allow yourselves to be consumed by it. The hurt you feel must not be allowed to turn into hate, but instead into the search for justice. The loss you feel must not paralyze your own lives. Instead, you must try to pay tribute to your loved ones by continuing to do all the things they left undone, thus ensuring they did not die in vain.”

In other words, honor your dead but keep on living, continue to move forward, don’t allow yourself to be hobbled by hatred.

In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the members of a rescue squad, Team 5, painted the following words on the side of a damaged building: “We search for the truth. We seek justice. The courts require it. The victims cry for it. And God demands it!”

They do, they do and He does. The truth will be known and justice will be served, just be patient.

In the days and weeks following the bombing, the people of Oklahoma City demonstrated to the world what became known as the “Oklahoma standard,” pressing on in the face of grief and reaching out to victims, survivors, rescue and recovery personnel and offering hospitality and kindness, demonstrating great strength and determination.

From the stories coming in the immediate aftermath of this week’s unspeakable horror, it sounds as if that standard has spread to Back Bay, as it did to lower Manhattan in the days following, Sept. 11, 2001.

Yours is a great city, a historic city that witnessed the genesis of a revolution that spawned the world’s greatest nation. Like Oklahoma City, you will not cower, will not give in to the forces of terror.

As the president said Thursday, you will run again, but never in fear.

 Those who resort to terror attacks claim to seek to change the world. In truth they change nothing, they build nothing, they create nothing, all they do is destroy and murder.

They are bottom feeders, they are vermin, they are cowardly scum.

Above all, don’t let the cowards win. We know you won’t. Good people never do.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at