Divisions abound 22 years after Oklahoma City bombing

"The fact that he jeopardizes so many people and labels them a certain way can hurt people that actually have gone through terrorism itself," Martinez said. "I hope that one day he can come here and walk our grounds and say, 'I need to watch what I say.'"

OKLAHOMA CITY | Remembering the Oklahoma City bombing has taken on a new meaning for Brian Martinez in the era of Donald Trump.

His father, a pastor, was among the 168 people killed in the explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, that remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil.

What happened to Martinez and his family was defining for them and the nation, the 31-year-old said Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the bombing.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

FILE - In this April 19, 1995, file photo, shows the north side of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after an explosion that killed 168 people and injured hundreds. Survivors and family members of those killed in the bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the 22nd anniversary of the attack. (AP Photo/File)

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

A memorial card signed by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., is attached to the chair of Thomas Eugene "Gene" Hodges Jr. in the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City Memorial in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Hodges Jr. worked at HUD and was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Survivors and family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the attack. Carson is speaking at the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

People wait for the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony to begin at the Oklahoma City Memorial in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Survivors and family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the attack. Carson is speaking at the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Mary Fallin, Ben Carson

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, left, greets Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, M.D., right, before the start of the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony of the Oklahoma City bombing in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Carson is speaking at the ceremony. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Mary Fallin, Vickie Lykins, Angela Richerson

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, center, embraces Vickie Lykins, left, and Angela Richerson in the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City memorial following the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Lykins and Richerson lost their mother, Norma Jean Johnson, in the bombing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Shirley Ward

Shirley Ward stands at the chair of her sister, Karen Gist Carr, in the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City Memorial following the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Bryan Peake

Bryan Peake, of Oklahoma City, places a wreath on the chair of USMC Sgt. Benjamin LaRanzo Davis in the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City Memorial in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Survivors and family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the attack. Carson is speaking at the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Brian Martinez

Brian Martinez, 31, attaches a wreath made of family photos to his father's chair in the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City Memorial in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the 22nd anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed is father, Rev. Gilbert X. Martinez.Survivors and family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the attack. Carson is speaking at the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Mary Fallin

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin listens with other dignitaries as the names of the 168 people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing are read during the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

People listen in silence as the names of the 168 people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing are read during the 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Aren Kok, Ben Carson

Aren Kok, left, talks with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., right, following a remembrance service of the 22nd anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Kok is the mother of Baylee Almon, the baby in the iconic Oklahoma City bombing photo of a firefighter carrying a baby out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

But starting with the grueling 2016 presidential campaign, he said they have been treated differently. Not because of what they experienced, but because of who they are. In Oklahoma, a state that overwhelmingly supported Trump, it makes political division painfully acute.

Trump’s comments about Latinos — which have included calling some Mexicans killers and rapists — have stung. Plans to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border have already divided Americans with differences in opinion about immigration.

“The fact that he jeopardizes so many people and labels them a certain way can hurt people that actually have gone through terrorism itself,” Martinez said. “I hope that one day he can come here and walk our grounds and say, ‘I need to watch what I say.'”

Martinez and hundreds of others gathered for a remembrance ceremony at the former site of the Murrah building, now a memorial and museum.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attended, and he also spoke of division. The Murrah building housed HUD offices, as well as employees from other federal agencies. HUD lost 35 employees in the attack.

Carson said college students graduating this year may not have been born when the bombing happened, but they should know about it. He asked what they were learning on their campuses — whether to get along with with people whose perspectives vary from theirs or to shut them down if they disagree. He said this shows there are “two different Americas.”

“The question is, which is the one that we want?” Carson asked the audience, without mentioning Trump. “Will they embrace the American spirit, or will they succumb to the forces of division and hatred as Timothy McVeigh did?”

McVeigh was convicted of the bombing and was later executed. Terry Nichols was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the bombing and is serving life in prison.

The death of Aren Almon-Kok’s 1-year-old daughter, Baylee, was memorialized long before a museum was built. A Pulitzer Prize-winning photo showed a firefighter cradling the girl’s body after the bombing.

Almon-Kok, who now has two teenage children, says she feels political division now like many others, but she believes it was here before and that it’s likely to stay.

Either way, she said, that won’t change what happened to her family.

“Baylee would’ve been 23 yesterday,” Almon-Kok said. “It’s still hard. People say it gets better with time, and it doesn’t.”