Timothy McVeigh died today, June 11, 2001. He was the first federal prisoner to be executed since 1963.

McVeigh declined a final statement in the death chamber, but did release a written statement, which was simply 4 refrains from the poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

McVeigh admitted that he was particularly drawn to the phrase "Beyond this place of wrath and tears". This shows his true feelings about the system in America. The poem was written by an invalid to show his defiance in the face of suffering. Many elements of society believe the release of this poem was an attempt to prove his steadfastness, and perhaps to turn him into somekind of a martyr. The release of a poem such as this is much less easy to criticise than other similar final statements, while still maintaining defiance.

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