Monday, just after 8 a.m., a nation sighed in relief.
Timothy McVeigh, the former military man who killed 168 people when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City April 19, 1995, was put to death.
For almost everyone in the United States, the death serves as revenge for what is called the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil. But to some, the death is just the beginning of the healing process.
Never before had the United States been faced with such a heinous act of internal terrorism and mass murder before the Gulf War veteran left an explosive-laced Ryder truck outside the federal building to get back at the government he hated.
While hundreds died, millions mourned and hoped that justice would soon be served.
After six long years, McVeigh became the first person put to death by the federal government in nearly 40 years, ending the life of the man who caused so much pain.
But while his life has ended, bringing a sense of closure to the tragedy, there are some who will never be comforted.
McVeigh's death cannot bring back the 19 children who died in the bombing. His death cannot heal the pain that those who lost family members or friends have felt everyday since.
Few argued that McVeigh should live. Only the most outspoken death penalty opponents held vigils in his honor and said that more death was not the answer.
Others argued on the other extreme, that he should feel the greatest pain imaginable in his death, that a mix of chemicals was too soft a punishment for the atrocities he committed.
McVeigh indeed deserved to die. Various polls show that many Americans who regularly oppose the death penalty thought so.
But public opinion is no reason to kill a man.
There are plenty of other reasons.
No American has ever inflicted so much hurt on his country as McVeigh. No one has killed so many people and seemed to be so indifferent to the consequences of his actions.
No one has ever seemed to be the perfect definition of how evil people can become.
McVeigh's infamy will live on for the rest of the United States' history. But we must be careful not to focus on him.
Such a man as he was deserves none of our time. We should do our best to give him no more thought.
But in doing that, we must be careful not to forget the lives he ended, lives which he could never repay with his own.
He is dead now. Some people are comforted, many still outraged, all still wondering why. But out of all the different feelings out there, one thing is known for sure:
Justice has been served.
Published: Tue Jun 12, 2001 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 03:40 p.m.