OKLAHOMA CITY -- The children of Oklahoma City bombing victims -- hailed as ''portraits of our survival" -- read victims' names yesterday as survivors and relatives marked the ninth anniversary of the devastating blast.
The solemn observation at the Oklahoma
They observed 168 seconds of silence, one second for each of those who died, before the victims' children began reading the names.
''These children, like all of you and our city, are portraits of our survival," said Frank Hill, chairman of the foundation that supports the memorial, which is built on the site where the Murrah building once stood. ''Thousands come to this memorial every week to find peace, hope, and serenity."
After the reading of names, many of the several hundred people gathered for the anniversary walked to the memorial's field of chairs, where each empty chair symbolizes a person lost.
Jason Smith, 31, of Oklahoma City, read names, including that of his mother, Linda McKinney.
''To be able to come down and be able to read my mom's name along with the rest of the victims is a tremendous honor," he said. ''Even though it's been nine years and a lot of us have moved on in our lives and grown, it's nice to take a step back and remember that fateful day and honor their memory."
Also in attendance were family members of victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, the trial continued in McAlester for bombing conspirator Terry Nichols. Nichols, 49, is serving a life sentence on federal convictions for his role in the bombing.
He is now on trial for 161 counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.