- The Washington Times
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lawmakers approved an amendment on Wednesday to award the Purple Heart to members of the military killed or wounded in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, sending the proposal to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Steve Russell, Oklahoma Republican, proposed the amendment to present the Purple Heart to six members of the military as part of the debate on the fiscal 2016 defense policy bill.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols carried out the bombing attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 and injuring more than 680. In addition to several federal agencies, the building housed military recruitment offices.

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The language in the fiscal 2016 bill specifically names six service members who would be eligible from all four branches of the military.

The amendment from Mr. Russell was agreed to by the House Armed Services Committee on a voice vote as part of a larger block of amendments on personnel issues. It will be considered by the full House as part of the larger defense policy bill in early May.

The Army presented almost 40 medals earlier this month to troops and civilians who were killed or wounded in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. The fiscal 2015 defense policy bill allowed victims of the Fort Hood shooting to receive the Purple Heart, or its civilian counterpart, the Defense of Freedom Medal, after a yearslong debate to classify the shooting as a terrorist attack on American soil.

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That bill determined that an attack can be classified as a foreign terrorist attack if the individual who perpetrated it was in contact with or inspired by a foreign terrorist organization. It also allowed the Army to award the Purple Heart to two service members killed in 2009 outside a Little Rock, Arkansas, recruitment office.

Those convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing had no tie to overseas terrorist organizations.

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