Oklahoma City Tragedy

Federal Building Demolition

May 23, 1995

From Correspondent Susan Candiotti

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (CNN) -- The symbol of so much pain and anger in Oklahoma City is gone. The monument to terror is a pile of rubble. For some victim's families it's a chance to move on, for others, it was harder to part with their symbol of grief.

It was over in a flash. A monument to a terrorist blast, tumbled like a thundering house of cards, spewing out a murky cloud of dust.

A 4,800 pound.fertilizer bomb took the Oklahoma City Federal Building down April 19th. By contrast, it took less than 150 pounds of dynamite to implode the haunting shell that remained.

Families waiting for that moment were told the implosion would be far quieter than the killer blast. But the boom still shook those who watched, especially Edye Smith who lost her sons, Chase and Colton. "To me, it was just eerie and creepy to drive by it and look at it. I'm glad it's gone, but it's also going to be eerie to drive by and not see it there."

Sgt. Ken Griffin was among the first on the scene last April. He pulled out the living and the dead. "Even though I was expecting it, I don't ever want to hear a sound like that again."

Technically, the implosion came off as planned. Within roughly eight seconds, the charges ripped through the structure, each side folding inward, the rear elevator shaft falling forward. Doug Loizeaux with Controlled Demolition: "It's a relief. It's a relief. Let's get on to other things."

For some families, relief is impossible. Bud Welch lost his only daughter. He's visited the site every day. "I'm still in shock in lots of ways. I hated to see the building go down. It was like we're pilgrims and that was our shrine."

Clean up has already begun. The bodies of two women and possibly a third victim remain buried in the debris. It may be days before they're recovered.

The symbol of both hate and grief is gone. It's legacy, for all Americans, will live on. But for most people the final chapter of the bomb blast won't be written until two questions are fully answered... who's responsible and why?



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