In 1997 the Boston Herald sent columnist Peter Gelzinis and me to cover the 2nd anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building. We returned to the bombing site in 2001 to provide coverage of the moment that Oklahoma City bomber/murderer Timothy McVeigh was executed. While we were there, on both trips, Peter introduced the Denny family to our readers and to me. Peter had met the Dennys only hours after the actual bombing when he and Herald photographer Matthew West were dispatched to the gruesome scene. In 1995 Rebecca Denny, then age 2 years, and her 3 year old brother Brandon Denny, were severely injured in the explosion, as they attended the building’s day care center. On June 11, 2001, the day that Timothy McVeigh was executed in Terre Haute Indiana, many victims and relatives, including the Dennys, marked this moment by returning to the now beautiful grounds and memorial of the Murrah federal building’s footprint. Here, beginning with a 1997 black & white photo of The Survivor Tree, are some of my photos from my two memorable trips. On a personal note, it is heartening to see that from senseless tragedy, good and decent people rise from the ashes and quickly turn the narrative positive. Also, I feel blessed to have met the Denny family.
1997 photo of Rebecca Denny, then age 4 years, and me, as Peter Gelzinis, off camera, interviews Rebecca’s brother Brandon, at their Oklahoma home.
Rebecca Denny, age 8 years, is seen at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, moments before the execution, in Indiana, of Timothy McVeigh.
Brandon Denny, age 9 years, also known a “Miracle Boy” due to his improbable survival living against all odds after having a hole the size of a fist punched thru his brain in the Murrah Federal Bldg bombing, prays at a chair that symbolizes his dead friend Chase Smith who was in the same day care in the bldg but did not survive.
The Denny family, moments before the McVeigh execution.
Seconds before the execution of Timothy McVeigh, Deb Ferrell-Lynn, who lost her cousin Susan ferrell, hugs Constance Favorite, who lost her daughter LaKesha Levy.