Dispute Over Awarding Purple Heart To Oklahoma City Bombing Victims

Jul 13, 2015

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell has inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would award the Purple Heart to six service members who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

The two soldiers, two airmen and two Marines were working as recruiters in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

In a written statement, the Military Order of the Purple Heart came out against awarding the medal to these six individuals because they were not killed or wounded in combat, and because the bombing was not inspired by international terrorism.

“The attack on the Federal Building which killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others on April 19, 1995 was carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols solely in retaliation for a perceived Federal Government mishandling of the 1993 siege of Ruby Ridge, and was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege in Waco, TX,” the group said.”

But Russell says international terrorism has never been among the criteria in the past.

“You had a federal piece of land with a federal building that had recruiting offices that was attacked and destroyed by an act of domestic terror done by a declared enemy of the state who was captured by the United States, tried and executed as an enemy of the state,” Russell said. “I don’t know how you could get more clear than that.”

The Military Order of the Purple Heart had previously approved the medal for victims of shootings at Fort Hood and the Little Rock Recruiting Station.

“Twenty years have passed and I think that it has escaped people’s notice,” Russell said. These warriors who have lost their lives in the defense of their country at their places of duty deserve their nation’s honor.”

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