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18th anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing observed

About 1,000 people turned out for a ceremony to observe the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
BY BRYAN PAINTER Modified: April 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013


About sunrise Friday, Jerry Hyden, field office director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Oklahoma City Field Office, and Mike Anderson, chief counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Oklahoma, walked into the Field of Empty Chairs at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial.

They began attaching white carnations to the backs of the chairs of the 35 Department of Housing and Urban Development individuals who died.

Their office has done this annually, said Anderson, who has helped place the flowers on the chairs for about 10 years.

Hyden, who has participated for four years, said the thing that doesn't change is the good memories of those lost.

He offered the example of his friend, the late Michael D. Weaver.

Weaver was an attorney for HUD, and at the time Anderson and Hyden were working in HUD's office in Tulsa.

“Weaver would come over once or twice a week to take care of the legal business we needed to have done in the Tulsa HUD office, and he was such a funny guy,” Hyden said.

“Mike could smell doughnuts from five miles away, and that's the truth. And he knew where the coffee was.

“I used to kid him about having a permanent coffee grip in his hand. And Mike was what, 6 foot tall, 150 pounds maybe, and he could still eat a dozen doughnuts before you could blink. We really miss him and everyone.”

Ceremony site

The remembrance ceremony was held inside for only the fourth time. This marked the third year it was moved indoors because of weather.

With a forecast of temperatures in the 30s, officials decided Thursday to hold this year's ceremony at the First United Methodist Church, at NW 5 and Robinson, near the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

“This sanctuary was built because of what happened on April 19, 1995, as this Land Run church was determined to rebuild after significant and horrible damage rather than succumb to the forces of evil,” Pierson said.