Ginny Moser and her husband Cal, an Oklahoma City bombing survivor, watched the closed-circuit feed of Timothy McVeigh's execution. What was it like? How did they feel watching the man they say gave them a life sentence take his last breath? Ginny tells us in her own words.
June 11, 2001, is the day that the ultimate price for the ultimate crime was paid. That was death!
Timothy James McVeigh was executed by lethal injection for his guilt in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
Cal and I thought we were prepared to view the execution, and as much as one can prepare, we were ready.
We awoke at 2:15 a.m., showered and got dressed and left the house at 3:10 a.m. It was dark, but very warm outside and as we drove to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City we spoke little to each other. All of the words of pain and sorrow and love and compassion had already been spoken and we carried them with us in our hearts.
We arrived at the Federal Transfer Center approximately 4:10 a.m., parked our car and were directed where to go from there. Our identification was checked and the paper processing completely in a matter of a minute or two at the most. We were immediately escorted onto a waiting bus and rode the short distance to the viewing place.
I remember seeing all the police and federal officers as well as counselors and ministers that were there to assist us as needed. Their presence made us feel safe and secure. Whatever our needs, they were there to meet them. Cal and I appreciated that and we embraced them.
We knew today was a difficult day for them as well as for us, but they continued to do their jobs and serve us. Oklahomans helping Oklahomans. This warmed our hearts.
Upon arrival at the viewing site, we were escorted inside to find a room filled with rows of folding chairs, a large screen television set in the front of the room, and also overhead televisions so that viewing was accessible to everyone. We were offered coffee, water, fruit, juices, and whatever we needed. Cal chose an apple to eat, and I drank half a cup of coffee.
Monday began much like those days that we were in Denver to view the trials, very early and with a knot in my stomach. We had time to visit with other family members and survivors before the seven o'clock hour, and that is what we did. We embraced each other and spoke softly, as there was a quiet, respectful feeling in the room. This respect was for each other. We were each remembering our friends and co-workers lost, each in our own way.
Cal and I found our seats and sat for a while, then stood for a while. We were told that U.S. Attorney General John Aschroft was there and would speak to us. We listened as he spoke compassionately to us, yet also with respect to the judicial system. He spoke a few minutes and then left, as he had his obligations as U.S. Attorney General to fulfill. Cal and I both felt honored that he took the time to come to speak to family members and survivors, and not go to Indiana.
By this time, the tears had started for me.
Even though I prepared myself for this, it was more emotional than I thought it would be.
More time passed and we were informed about things that were happening in Terre Haute, Indiana. Several minutes later, we were told to be seated and that the execution would begin shortly.
Cal and I held hands, as our hearts were and are always bound together, and we took a deep breath, ready to view the execution.
We heard a noise and were told that the noise was the curtains opening on the execution chamber windows at the prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. On the blank screen all at once McVeigh appeared. It was somewhat startling to see him on a large screen television. We only saw his face and part of his body and his body was covered by what appeared to be a white sheet or something like that.
He lifted his head, looked and nodded to the witness windows, and then laid his head back. He had no final words to say to us, only a blank stare.
Cal and I both saw fear in his eyes. Some may say he was defiant to the end, but what we saw was a scared young man, not wanting to die. That is how we felt anyway. It made me sad. Sad for all his victims, sad for his family, and sad for us. All his talk about dying and wanting to die, yet when it came time for the ultimate price to be paid for the ultimate crime, I do not think he wanted to die.
The lethal dose was injected, although we only saw his face, and his eyes began to close and it seemed he was trying to keep them open. His mouth opened slightly and he appeared to be taking a breath, although it was probably only an involuntary response to the drugs. He never completely closed his eyes, so I was not sure when he was dead. It was announced to us that at 7:14 a.m., Oklahoma time, Timothy James McVeigh was dead. The screen went blank and then we watched and waited until the warden announced to the media the execution was completed.
There was no rejoicing for Cal or me, just a knowledge that justice was served, and the death sentence was just that, final! No more McVeigh to taunt us or haunt us every day as we read the paper or listen to the radio, or watch the television. This man was silenced.
I heard a report that even though he was a non-practicing Catholic, that he had asked for last rites to be given, and so it was. That confirms to me and Cal that he really did not want to die.
I think that he did have a soul, and now it is in God's hands.
We left the viewing building, were escorted onto waiting buses and transported back to our cars that we had left at the Federal Transfer Center. Cal and I drove downtown to the Memorial, as we had agreed to speak with some of the media that was there, but mainly to embrace those we know who chose not to attend the execution, but to go to the Memorial to seek comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity. That is the Memorial, and it has comforted us many times.
What was once a place of horror and destruction is now a place of peace. Tears flow there as does the reflecting pool, but souls embrace and catch the tears and they are turned into love.
We saw many people we knew and no words needed to be spoken, as our hearts know only too well the words of pain and heartache.
It was a long day.
In our hearts, there is no closure, only a feeling of justice carried out to its finality with the ultimate price paid for the ultimate crime. It was a sad day, for us, it will always be April in Oklahoma.
God Bless America.
Ginny & Cal