OKLAHOMA CITY -- Antonio Cooper Sr. walked across a field of empty chairs that represent the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, occasionally stopping to read names inscribed in glass panes as he searched for the one dedicated to his 6-month-old son, Antonio Cooper Jr.
"I feel it's a necessity to be here," Cooper said yesterday as he strapped a colorful bouquet of spring flowers to the chair bearing his son's name on the 16th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the worst domestic terror attack in U.S. history and the deadliest on U.S. soil before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The boy's grandmother, Wanda McNeely, wept softly as she placed a beige stuffed bear on the metal chair that stands on the federal building's former site.
Cooper wore a red T-shirt bearing the smiling image of his young son that read "Our Lil' Angel" as he and more than 300 other people attended ceremonies at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on the anniversary of the bombing that killed 168 people.
"You have to move forward," he said. "You reflect on what could have been."