One Year Later: Pipe Bomb Gives Determination To Spokane's MLK Event

Jan 13, 2012
Originally published on January 13, 2012 8:52 am

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been a year since a white supremacist from rural eastern Washington planted a bomb along Spokane's Martin Luther King Day parade route. Thirty-seven-year-old Kevin Harpham now awaits a 32-year prison sentence. But the cloud of the incident still looms as Spokane prepares for this year's event.

Ivan Bush stands in the sun outside the Spokane Convention Center. Hundreds of people gathered here a year ago to listen to a recitation of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

It's an event Bush has helped organize for 20 years. Only last year, it was around the time of the speech that police were discovering a pipe bomb planted a block away.

"There was very few of us that knew that really something was going on big," Bush says.

Kevin Harpham of Addy, Wash., was charged with a federal hate crime and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Bush says King's message now rings truer than ever.

"To me this is a statement year," he says. "That we're not going to be bullied. We're not going to be threatened. That in spite of the ugly that went on, we're still a great community."

Spokane police say they'll step up security for this year's parade. The bomb squad will be on-site and a police officer will be stationed at every intersection along the parade route.

On the Web:

Spokane's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

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