The ceremony also included the Edmond North High School Orchestra providing music; Marty Grubbs, senior pastor of Crossings Community Church, giving the invocation; words of both encouragement and remembrance from Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; and the always moving reading of the names of those 168 individuals who died.
There were flowers on the chairs in the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial, tears and hugs, the kind meant to last 17 years.
Leaves of the Survivor Tree bounced gently on the April breeze, and two mallard ducks moved down the reflecting pool. It was a day not only with its own memories, but it was certainly a time for loving memories that can never be taken from family and friends. As the 168 names were read, such was evident in the words, “my friends,” “my brother,” “my mother,” “my sister,” and “my father.”
Gary Pierson, president and chief executive officer of The Oklahoma Publishing Company, spoke during Thursday's ceremony as chairman of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.
“As Oklahoma City has moved forward at an astonishing pace, these grounds permanently stand vigil as evidence of not just the worst domestic terrorist attack on American soil,” he said, “but also the day the entire world stopped to witness how the citizens of Oklahoma insisted that good triumph over evil.
“The courage and resilience that sprang from these ashes are a testament to the strength and character of our great community.”
Just before the reading of the 168 names at the end of the remembrance ceremony, Charity Logan sang “We Are.”
Included were the words, “Fight the shadows; conquer death; make the most of the time we have left.”