“We both buried a child”

That’s what Bud Welch said, speaking about his meeting with Timothy McVeigh’s father at the Cathedral of the Incarnation here in Nashville last night. Bud said that, in watching an interview with Bill McVeigh on tv, he, in a brief moment, recognized his own pain in Bill’s eyes, the pain of losing a child.

Bud’s entire story is a moving one. He’s a father who says that he is blessed in getting to tell millions of people about his daughter, Julie Marie, who was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. He’s a father bragging on his daughter, who, by all accounts, was a wonderful young woman, a remarkably intelligent person who spoke 5 languages and won a scholarship to study abroad in Spain and attend Marquette University, a devoted Catholic, a loving daughter. And she was loved. You can see it in every word that Bud speaks when he talks about her.

But I was particularly moved, after hearing this father talk about his love for his daughter, to hear him talk about Bill McVeigh. Bud says that Bill will never be able to say any of the good things that he knows about Tim in public. He’ll never be able to tell the cute stories about his little child that Bud gets to tell the world. He can’t stop loving his son, but he can’t say that out loud, and that pain could be a consuming one.

So often, people tell me that if I lost I loved one, I’d feel differently about the death penalty. So often I hear that if I lost someone, I wouldn’t care about the murderer’s family. I don’t know if that’s true or not for me, but I know that it isn’t true for Bud. And that truth is an inspiration.

You can still hear Bud speak at MTSU this morning at the KUC theatre at 9:10 and 10:20.

At 7:00 pm Bud will speak at UT Chattanooga

Thursday at 12:30 he will speak to the Episcopal Peace Fellowship in Sewanee.

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