Statement of Bud Welch
Father of Julie Marie Welch who was killed
in the Oklahoma City Bombing
March 21, 2005
On the morning of April 19, 1995, my daughter, Julie Marie went to St. Charles Boromeo for mass at 7 o’clock. At 8:00, she went to work at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City where she assisted the Social Security Administration as a translator. At 9:00, she went to the front of the building to greet a Mexican man who spoke no English. On their way back to her office in the rear of the building, a 5,000 pound fertilizer bomb was detonated killing Julie and the client.
In the months following Julie’s death, I was one of many seeking vengeance for the people who took my daughter. I turned to alcohol and cigarettes to ease my pain. I was angry with God for allowing this terrible thing to happen to me. But after several months, I began to hear Julie’s voice. Years before, as a child herself, I remember her telling me that she thought that executions only taught children to hate.
With the realization that losing a child is a terrible burden, I began to understand that Tim McVeigh’s dad, Bill, would soon be facing the same pain when the government executed his son. I reached out to Bill and his daughter Jennifer and that experience strengthened my conviction that we do not need to use the death penalty in this country.
My conviction is simple: More violence is not what Julie would have wanted. More violence will not bring Julie back. More violence only makes our society more violent.
The Catholic Campaign Against the Use of the Death Penalty is another way for the Church to say no to more violence and no to our culture of death. As a father who lost the most precious gift that God gives us and as a Catholic, I am proud that my Church continues to be at the forefront of efforts to end the use of this unnecessary and violent punishment. I urge Catholic fathers and others of good will to join me and the bishops and end the use of the death penalty in the United States.