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Oklahoma City marks 19th anniversary of bombing at memorial

People gathered Saturday at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Musuem to mark the 19th anniversary of the bombing that took 168 lives on April 19, 1995.
by Silas Allen Modified: April 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm •  Published: April 19, 2014

As she stood a few feet away from an empty chair bearing her mother’s name, Dion Thomas smiled when she thought about the kind of woman Charlotte Thomas was.

Although 19 years have passed since she lost her mother, Dion Thomas said she still remembers her kindness and generosity.

“She was very giving, loving — just unconditional love,” Thomas said.

On April 19, 1995, Charlotte Thomas was a 17-year employee of the Social Security Administration. She was one of the 168 people left dead after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

On Saturday, Dion Thomas and her family gathered at the annual remembrance ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. After the ceremony, the family walked through the Field of Empty Chairs, a collection of 168 bronze and glass chairs that bear the names of the people who died as a result of the blast.

Susan Winchester, chairwoman of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation, said many families spent Easter weekend in 1995 together, not knowing that those loved ones would be taken from them just a few days later.

“That day began very much like today, with the sun shining and people going about their lives,” Winchester said. “Then, at 9:02 a.m., our lives were forever changed.”

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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