tv Oklahoma City Bombing 25th Anniversary Commemoration CSPAN April 19, 2020 11:01pm-12:03am EDT
federal, state, and local officials as well as a reading of the 168 names of those killed. the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of a live commemorative ceremony. ♪ just be strong keep it together together lostope is never lost hold on don't let go closeray one step one foot in front of the other
you will get through this follow the light in the darkness you are going to be ok ♪ >> good morning. thank you for joining us for this 25th anniversary remembrance ceremony. i am bob ross, chairman of the oklahoma city national memorial foundation. we are grateful to have this unique opportunity to come together as a community, albeit virtually, as we pause to remember. i would like to thank the committee for their help and willingness to guide us in these unprecedented times.
as you watch today's ceremony, we encourage you to take a photo of those who joining your, post your photo using the #weremember . let's pledge to do our part to strengthen our community as we , thinkingooking back forward. for 25 years, we have worked together to create something that has become known worldwide as a premier memorial museum and educational institution. over .5 million people from around the world visit the memorial and museum each year, coming to these hallowed grounds to show their respect and to learn about the power of the oklahoma spirit.
our mission statement remains our cornerstone in shaping the important work that continues today. just as we do each time we meet or gather for a memorial event, we pause for the reading of the mission statement. reading our mission statement today is bob johnson, founder of the oklahoma city memorial foundation who led the board of trustees through the building of the memorial and museum. >> we come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever. may all who leave here know the impact of violence. may this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope, and serenity. please join me in 168 seconds of silence. [no audio]
>> during the dark days following the bombing, we relied heavily on our faith to rebuild our community. as we reflect back 25 years later, we have a constant reminder in the bells of first church, one of three churches heavily damaged in 1995. the chaplain of the oklahoma city police department in 1995 was part of a spiritual ministry during the rescue and recovery efforts. the entire site of our memorial became a holy place. now retired, we call on chaplain poe to offer a blessing on this -- our indication on this sacred -- invocation on this sacred sunday morning. >> let us pray. heavenly father, creator and redeemer who hears our prayers
, and understands the cries of heart, 25 years ago on a day -- cries of our heart, 25 years ago on a day like any other day our city was knocked to its knees by an act of violence against innocent people who came to work that day to serve the needs of our community. the legacy of our city was at risk. would we lay down and give up or what we show up and work together to overcome this tragedy? our choice was not to let this act of violence define who we were as a city or who we were as a people. response was quick. our first responders, police, came immediately and people stood in long lines to give blood. our community asked, "what can we do?" people were placing others before themselves and gave birth to what is now known as the oklahoma city standard. today, we remember those who died, those who survived, and those changed forever. a promise we have kept for 25
years. once again, our nation is at a crisis, and we are afraid. we know who to turn to, the great i am, the one who promised we can cast our anxiety upon him because he has promised to never leave or forsake us. so help us not to allow the past to determine our future but to look forward to our mission statement of showing strength and unity in the face of violence. we pray in the name of our creator and redeemer, amen. ♪ >> we thank chaplain poe as well
as all members of the fire department who remain an important part of our healing and recovery along with the many first responders from around the world. these heroic efforts witnessed 25 years ago our truly inspirational. our first responders set the bar and now serve as an example or cities throughout the country and world. their stories are proudly told in this museum. former president bill clinton led us through our darkest hours. now 25 years later, we look back and see how each decision they made was critical to how we were able to move forward and rebuild our lives. never before had the federal, state, and to city governments worked together so seamlessly. we fly the city, state, and united states flags on our site every day to honor that spirit
of collaboration. they worked day and night to provide crime scene investigators from around the country all while trying heal the human side and protect the victims of this attack and their families. they knew this historic moment required spiritual focus as they came together for a nationally televised prayer service. it would each be with us today had we been able to gather together -- they would each be with us today had we been able to gather together. combined, their leadership remains unmatched. ♪ >> the most important thing to remember was that these were people who were right to live their lives. many of them were kids.
if we ever lost that, we would lose the whole meaning of the thing. >> i remember that call. he did not call to ask me for anything. he just called to see how i was doing personally and how the city was doing and if there was anything he could do, just let him know that his phone was open. >> it was impossible to forget the people that were involved. not only the people who died, but their survivors. ♪ >> i give a lot of credit to the governor, misses keating, all of the people in oklahoma city. >> after that evil, good came. >> there was a strong sense that we will not be defeated. >> everyone knew their place. >> call it divine providence, call it the right team at the
right time, it worked. >> the public responded tenfold. >> in time of crisis, i know of no other country, no other state, or no other city who takes care of its citizens like we do. [applause] >> you have lost too much. but you have not lost everything. you have certainly not lost america. for we will stand with you. for as many tomorrows as it takes. [applause] ♪ >> the outdoor symbolic material captures and preserves forever the place and events that changed the world.
we will always be looking back, but now is the time for us to be thinking forward. our city has not just survived, we have grown and strengthened but we depend on all of you watching today to help us continue telling our story and relevant for all future generations. we owe it to the survivors into the community who stood with us during our time of need. we are fortunate to have trustees like mayor david holt who are dedicated to our mission. we appreciate our mayor for his leadership and for supporting our museum.
>> good morning. this is not how we expected to come together today but this remembrance is no less real or important. anniversary we marked today and what april 19, 1995 meant to our city and nation transcends the current events of april 19, 2020. covid-19, 9/11, the bombing, these are all similarly shared experiences along this journey we call life. in the wake of such events, what matters is that we take lessons from them and emerge wiser and more equipped to face similar challenges ahead. as we have considered what lessons we may learn from covid-19, i have pondered what lessons we should take from april 19. this seems more important than ever as the commemoration of the 25th anniversary is a reminder
-- this event is transitioning from experience to history. what cannot be lost is its lessons. those lessons make this sacred place relevant for decades to come. this is what it means to look back and to simo desha simultaneously think forward. -- simultaneously think forward. this was -- the journey to such an act begins with thoughts. thoughts begin with words. words are heard by listeners and they pull out of that listener thoughts and words that their better nature had previously rejected. one carrier becomes many and an ecosystem is created where ideas that were once considered absurd are treated with credibility. flowing up an office building filled with civilians and -- blowing up an office building filled with civilians and children requires someone to walk down that dark path. that path is largely lined with
the simplest words. if you are not hearing those echoes again in our current political discourse, i ask you to listen harder. people act like the one that occurred behind me depend on the triumph of dehumanization, that your motivations are not pure, that you are my enemy, the enemy of my people and that this struggle is so real that all tactics must be on the table. to accept such dehumanization and to reject all the things we share in common, the reality that we all love, we all have families, we are all seeking virtually the same outcome, requires a remarkable amount of delusion, but we as humans have proven ourselves capable of such delusion and we pay a terrible price time and time again.
i ask you to consider this morning that this sacred place is a a sober reminder that humanity is capable of such things even in the u.s.. even in oklahoma and we all have an obligation to speak up and reject words that divide us, words that cast others as our enemies. right now, i hear such words coming out of the mouths of some of the most prominent people in our country and i see them echoed in daily life by those who know better. we should know how this story ends. let this place be a reminder, we must have better conversations, we must reject dehumanization, we must love each other. those are the lessons i hope we continue to carry from this event today and all the days ahead. that is the oklahoma standard i believe in.
the standard that the people of oklahoma showed in the hours that followed this evil act. we did not ask the survivors what political party they were, we did not ask the rescue workers how they voted in the last election, we loved all, we accepted all. that is who we are. that is who we should always be. i am proud of us for leading by example and i think we always will. to the people of oklahoma city, i say it is our unique obligation to carry these lessons forward. we did not choose this obligation. it was given to us. we must carry the load so that our people will not have died in vain. we must speak with the authority of those who will always carry a scar in the heart of our downtown. we know what happens when empathy and understanding are
lost. we must be the first ones to always say, "we are all in this together." let's listen to each other and let's find common ground. thank you for taking time to remember what happened here today and consider what it means for us now. if we carry the lessons of april 19 forward, this sacred place will be relevant 50 years hence, 100 years hence and forever. god bless those who survived, those who came to our rescue and those changed forever. >> more than half the population of oklahoma city either was not alive or did not live here in 1995. we work every day to continue teaching our story, doing our part to make sure something like this never happens again.
during his first year in office, the governor and his entire family showed their commitment to our mission by visiting the memorial and museum and participating in the marathon. last year we look forward -- like last year, we look forward to the governor joining us for the run 168 days from today. >> like so many oklahomans, i remember where i was on april 19, 1995 and in the days that followed seeing the devastation and our first responders helping oklahomans. i am honored to join you as we remember. this anniversary marks a milestone for our state and people that provides us with a n opportunity to remember the past. our people experienced a senseless attack that shook our state and nation to its very core. no words or measure of time can fully heal the scars rooted in that day, but we will end we must never forget the wisdom we gained into the lessons we learned.
this is why we take time to remember. we remember the 168 lives lost into the hundreds injured on that day. we remember the families who lost loved ones into the survivors whose lives were forever changed. we remember the unbreakable spirit of oklahomans who united together on the darkest day in our state's history. we also remember so we can continue to teach the next generation about the impact of violence, the power of prayer and the strength of our people.
25 years ago, we were faced with two options, allow hate and terror to to rein or rise up together in kindness and love. where there was destruction, oklahomans responded with resilience and where there was chaos oklahomans responded with hope. the personification of the strength of our people to be seen in the story of the survivor tree. an american elm that withstood the impact of the bombing and now overlooks the hallowed grounds of the oklahoma city memorial where it stands stronger than ever before.
as you walk around the survivor tree, you are met by the words reverent billy graham spoke to the people of oklahoma during a prayer service on april 23, 1995, "the spirit of this nation will not be fetid. our deeply rooted faith sustains us." 25 years ago, oklahomans showed the nation and world what it looks like for a community to stand together in faith, neighbor helping neighbor. 25 years later, where once there was devastation, there is now a city and a state that have not only survived, but thrived. our roots of faith have sustained us and we continue to see the oklahoma standard displayed as we stand at this milestone stronger than ever before. god bless you, god bless the great state of oklahoma. >> one of the lessons taught inside our museum is the importance of agencies at all levels working together when
tragedy strikes. joining us today, representing the united states of america, is senator james lankford. >> we were all broken on that airfield in 1995. i share psalm 34, verse 18. it says, "the lord is near to those who are brokenhearted." we understand what it means to be broken hearted and we know we need god to be near us. remembrance is in the heart of oklahomans. we run to remember. 25 years later, we continue to remember the atrocities that happened in oklahoma on april 19, 1995. we recognize what happens when people allow their hatred to well up and take it out on others. we get up, we try to determine how we grow from here. the memorial museum itself is a testament to remembering into learning. it calls people to remember that day and recognize what law enforcement did. how firefighters ran to the crisis and how first responders saved lives, stood side-by-side
with total strangers and neighbors. i believe there will never be a year when oklahomans do not pause and remember april 19, 1995. we will always keep the memory of the 168 lives lost. we will always hold each other close as our families remember. this museum stands as oklahoma's promise to never forget. i remember when i first brought my daughter to the museum when she was very young. she was like many in this generation born after 1995. she did not personally experience that horrible day. it was a unique experience for her to see the museum and for us to talk through what we experienced that day. when we got to the room dedicated to children who died, my daughter stood there and cried.
it moved for her from history to reality. we have the responsibility to pass on the story to the next generation. we have the responsibility to love and walk with families who know deep pain. we have the responsibility to learn from the past. moving forward we should recognize rising hate. how do we identify things like anti-semitism, racism, or hatred for government echo we have to recognize those moments and not -- or hatred for government? we have to recognize those moments and not allow them to lie dormant. to walk to the museum, to learn, and to remember. we will always remember. >> thank you, mayor holt and
senator langford, for your inspirational remarks. we find ourselves facing a crisis like never before, we know you are committed to our mission and we appreciate your support. last year, reverend michael b. curry residing bishop of the episcopal church toward our outdoor memorial and museum. we asked bishop curry to share a spiritual message for our 25th anniversary, one filled with hope and optimism for the future. >> there is a passage in the bible in the epistle to the romans that says, "let love be genuine. hold fast to that which is good. do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." we gather on this day of remembrance to remember loved ones who lost their lives, to remember loved ones who were wounded, to remember all whose lives have been changed because of that tragic day.
we gather to remember them, never to forget them, but we likewise gather to remember them by recommitting, re-consecrating, and re-dedicating all our lives to a living legacy. a legacy that will prevent this from happening again. a legacy that will make a world where no child dies. a legacy that will make a world where there is no more suffering, where there is no more wrong.
where no human child of god is hurt or harmed. a legacy that will make a world where there is no more suffering. where there is no more wrong. where no human child of god is hurt or harmed by any other human child of god. we gather to remember and to re-member a new world. it occurs to me that we aren't able to gather physically. we gather virtually. it may be that the fact that we have to gather virtually rather than physically may well speak the message of remembering this day. we gather virtually so that covid-19, a virus, may hopefully be stopped in its place. we gather virtually, not coming physically together, so that hopefully lives may be saved.
we gather virtually so that our health might be preserved and the health of others, even people that we do not know. we gather virtually as an act of love. love for our neighbor. love for ourselves. love for the god who loves everyone of us. it may well be that our virtual gathering on this day of remembrance is a reminder that we remember in order that we might create a new and better world as a living legacy to those who died. to those who were wounded. to those whose lives were changed. i've made two pilgrimages
previously to the memorial. one of those occasions was with over 1000 young people who had gathered for a church conference for several days. we gathered there in order to help young people learn something about living a way of life that reflects god's way of love. a way of life that seeks to do good as a way to overcome any evil. we made an evening pilgrimage to the memorial. and over 1000 young people gathered around the water as the dusk and the evening descended and as the light began to rise.
we gathered in the midst of chairs of remembrance, the wall of remembrance, the pond, the trees. we gathered to remember that those thousand young people might learn that as the bible says in the psalm of songs, love is as strong as death and many waters cannot quench it. we gathered that day to remember and to shape a new future.
dr. king once said, darkness cannot cast out darkness. only light can do that. hatred cannot cast out hatred. only love can do that. we gather this day virtually because we love our neighbor. and because we seek to do good by being physically absent from each other. by being present with each other in spirit. god love you. god bless you. and may god hold each one of you and all of us in his almighty hands. of love. ♪ >> we remember those at the oklahoma water resources board building. trudy jean rigney. robert chipman. we remember those at the athenian building job corps.
my father-in-law, mickey maroney. donald ray leonard. cynthia l brown. >> we remember our friends and family with the drug enforcement administration ninth floor. kenneth glenn mccullough. my daughter carrie and lynn and my grandson, baby michael james lynn the third. rona keener chafee. carol june chip fields. shelley bland.
>> we remember those who are killed with the department of housing and urban development, eighth floor. clarence eugene wilson senior. francis williams. michael d weaver. david jack walker. jules valdes. leora sells. lanny david scroggins. antonio reyes. dr. george michael howard. susan jane farrell. kimberly k clark. donald earl burns senior. david neil burket. ted allen.
we continue to remember our friends and family with the department of housing and urban development seventh floor. joann wittenberg. john carl vanness the third. john thomas stewart. perry smith reese. patricia makes. betsy jay mcdonald. and my father, james mccarthy the second. >> we continue to remember our friends and family with the department of housing and urban development seventh floor. [reading names]
♪ >> good morning. i want to thank you for joining us on our 168-day journey as we have been looking back and thinking forward. if you joined us as we began in november with this powerful message, that on day we heard one, our story put the historical perspective from john meacham. we can't look back without remembering and educating. i am here in the discover lab thinking forward. , learning and connecting the past with the future. lessons learned in combining history, science and technology teach relevant lessons impacting lives today. our standard program will be
taught in schools and to adults alike. it reminds us -- stepping up to be kind. i encourage you to find a way to do that every day in your own life. one of the projects we are taking is better conversations. this project aims to change how conversations work by looking at the questions we ask and honoring each other's perspective. we want to teach that words matter and how words can grow humility, hospitality, and patience. these discussions will happen in communities and around dinner tables across the state. we are living through uncertain times but we know we can do this together. we are ready for this museum in the classroom to be full of schoolkids again. when we reopen, we are excited to roll out a new stronger together augmented reality experience. you have also seen our unique partnership with oklahoma city
thunder. the special uniform honors the memorial and your efforts at remembering. it also teaches a new generation of people on an international stage. we were honored recently to go to new york with the team when they wore these at madison square garden as we said thank you to the first responders who came here 25 years ago and we met the children of a man who came here to help us 25 years ago and were killed responding to 9/11. other teams have added the survivor tree to their jerseys to help remember and help us teach. we will join an excited community when we return to normal. we encourage you to post pictures as you cheer them on using #weremember. our survival tree helps tell the story of healing and hope.
today thousands of survivor trees are growing all over the united states. its branches can shade survivors of more tragedies. we want to be available to other communities torn apart by horrific events, continue to be a global thought leader in the wake of tragedy. we owe it to the world to continue thinking forward. together we get to define every moment that comes after. this memorial should offer visitors the assurance that this world holds far more good than bad. >> it started out as this idea to get the kids to have a clue about what happened. they would pick a person. and then create an image.
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