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Byline: Michael McLeod
OKLAHOMA CITY _ When Timothy McVeigh is put to death Monday, Florence Rogers won't be watching.
"I'm not gonna waste my time on that skinny little bastard," she says. "If I want to see an execution, I'll go out and rent `The Green Mile.' "
Kathleen Treanor has a different view. If she could, Treanor would squeeze the lethal injections into McVeigh's bloodstream herself. "What it boils down to for me is staring evil straight in the face, and being the last one standing. And saying to the evil: `You lose.' "
Most of the nation will view McVeigh's execution from a distance _ a luxury that Rogers, Treanor and other victims of the Oklahoma City bombing do not have.
Some, like Treanor, have elected to watch the execution via a private, closed circuit television broadcast, determined to see a horror through to its end. Others, like Rogers, will distance themselves from the event as much as they can, fearful of bringing back memories.
Victims of the worst terrorist attack ever to take place on American soil are practiced at the grim business of coping with milestones: the anniversaries of the bombing, McVeigh's trial and conviction, the build-up to his execution and the delay, the completion of a spectacular $29-million memorial dedicated to those who died in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building six years ago.
Some helped design the monument and now serve as guides. Others can't bring themselves to drive past the windy place where two sheer gold walls flank 168 empty bronze chairs, each engraved with the name of someone killed in the blast.
Survivors of the bombing and the family and friends of the dead have struggled for years with grief and depression. Many survivors carry pieces of the Murrah building inside them _ tiny shards of glass from the shattered facade, driven deep into their bodies by the 7,000-mph explosion.
They still remember days when their downtown skyline had a ragged, nine-story sepulchre in it, days when there were so many funerals that they couldn't attend them all.
They've endured McVeigh's callous, offhand remarks _ calling the 19 children killed in the blast "collateral damage," referring to family members and survivors as "the woe-is-me crowd."
They know about the good, as well. The man who survived the blast but instead of escaping the crumbling building went straight to what was left of the second-floor day care center, where the babies and children were, and died when he was struck by falling debris. The nurse who was killed the same way after running into the ruins …