Many people stop at the windows inside the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and look out at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial.
On Tuesday morning, Donna Weaver had a different view.
She was outside looking toward the windows of the museum. Weaver stood at the lectern during the remembrance ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 16 years after the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
It was a bombing that resulted in the deaths of 168 people, including her husband of 21 years, Michael D. Weaver, 45.
In the five years leading up to his death, Michael Weaver served as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with an office in the Murrah Building.
She told the 2,000 people gathered that she has gone out across the state on behalf of the museum with a message.
“I want them to know how one family walked through tragedy, survived and has moved forward,” Donna Weaver said. “I want them to know how to be a good friend to someone that's hurting and how important faith is.
“The education programs of the memorial museum allow something meant for bad to work for good. It's important for me to be a part of that work, so that the loss of Mike Weaver and all the victims will work for the good of future generations. The memorial museum does that.”
This February marked 10 years since the opening of the museum.
Richard Williams was one of the original members of the memorial trust and has served on the museum's board. In all, he's served on about 18 committees during the past 15 years.
Williams, working for the General Services Administration, was serving as the assistant manager of the Murrah Building at the time of the bombing. On Tuesday, he complimented the museum for accurately capturing, preserving and sharing the story of that day and those that have followed.
“I have to tell you I learn something new every time I visit,” he said. “And in the gallery of honor, I never fail to be moved when I see the faces of my lunchtime, card-playing buddies in Social Security, the children from America's Kids day care who trick-or-treated us in our office on Halloween, and the credit union girls that I played softball with and many, many other dear friends.”
Williams said he will always have memories of the people, the building, that day and the days that followed. But with the museum, he also will have access to the real story and the details will always be clear.
The remembrance ceremony also included Oklahoma City police Sgt. Justin Echols playing the keyboard and singing “God Bless America,” as some of those in the crowd dabbed at tears with tissues or the hugged the one next to them.
On Tuesday, the morning started warm, but chilled as a front rode through on strong April winds.
As the leaves of the Survivor Tree fluttered, the names of those who died were read, occasionally marked by the words “my grandma,” “my grandpa,” “my dad,” “my mother,” “my son,” “my aunt and role model,” “my brother,” “our big sister” and other terms of love.
As the ceremony ended, the National 9/11 Flag, brought to Oklahoma City by the New York Says Thank You Foundation, was carried through the 9:03 gate to the museum.
IF YOU GO
Reflections of hope award
Former President George W. Bush, his wife Laura, and their daughters will receive the 2011 Reflections of Hope Award today. The daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, are scheduled to receive the award on behalf of their family during a luncheon at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.