18 years later, Oklahoma City memorial's mission holds

Friday marks 18th anniversary of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing.
by Bryan Painter Published: April 14, 2013

They are part of the school's leadership and enrichment program, the Warrior Academy for Excellence.

Cathy Kass, a professor at Bacone, brought the students. She lived in Oklahoma City at the time of the bombing. And she previously has visited the national memorial. But she came this time for the students.

Kass said it's important that we understand the history of the bad events, as well as the good events, so that hopefully those aren't repeated.

Training future leaders is one approach, she said.

“Over many, many years I've taught about the Holocaust, I've helped the Native Americans teach about their history,” Kass said.

“All of those histories, including this one, help us remember that we have the potential to be an observer or a rescuer or a victim or a persecutor, and we all have to work hard to make the right decisions so that we are bettering the world.”

Kaitlin Connel was among the Bacone students touring the museum. Her goal is to some day be an elementary schoolteacher.

She said that regardless of age, people should know what happened April 19, 1995. She has visited the national memorial a few times.

“Especially when I see like the little kids' shoes or the teddy bears, it gets to me,” she said.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Stephanie Jefferson was among those from Fort Sill at the museum.

“What stays with me is just how real it is,” Jefferson said, “that you can wake up and have a normal day, and it could change for the rest of your life.

“It's important to me to remember those taken away from us, and also to be aware that this can happen again. We have to be mindful of these things on an everyday basis.”

After walking from the window, Hale stood in one place for a few minutes and looked around.

“It's very educational,” Hale said. “It's very moving, as well.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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I brought a smaller group last week, a young group of soldiers. It's to get these soldiers to understand that there's something bigger than themselves.”

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Hale,

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