"We come to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever," said Bob Johnson, president of Oklahoma City National Memorial at the site of the April 19, 1995, bombing.
Johnson's remarks were followed by 168 seconds of silence, a second for each of the 149 adults and 19 children killed. A nearby church bell then tolled. A brief prayer was read by the Oklahoma City Fire Department chaplain, and the name of each victim was read.
Several hundred people directly affected by the bombing were allowed in the ceremony. As it ended they walked onto the memorial grounds where 168 glass and bronze chairs stand for each victim along a reflecting pool.
This year's anniversary comes only a few weeks before the scheduled execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on May 16. Some of those attending Thursday's memorial might be witnesses at the execution.
Ten relatives of victims and survivors were chosen by lottery to be witnesses at the execution in Indiana. Nearly 250 more will be given an opportunity to view the proceeding from a site in Oklahoma City via a closed-circuit telecast.
Thirty-one children of people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing have received higher education degrees because of special funds collected for them in the wake of the tragedy, the Daily Oklahoman reported Thursday.
Gov. Frank Keating led the campaign to ensure that the children of the victims would not be denied an education because the bombing claimed their parents.
Millions of dollars have been donated, according to Anna Fay Rose, who administers Survivors Educational Fund for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and who coordinates other sources for the campaign.
More than 200 children have qualified so far. As of this spring semester, 142 have participated in the program. Some have enrolled in seminary and law school, veterinary school, and in law enforcement. Almost $2 million have been invested in their education, Rose said.
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