Keating, a 19-year-old living in the nation's capital at the time, said that the immediate reaction was that somehow the political climate, the culture, the people of Dallas did it.
“And that was historically inaccurate and terribly unfair,” he said.
Garrison believes it is also unfair to link tragedies and sports titles, as if they interchangeable.
Life and sports
Garrison, a 19-year-old in Stillwater at the time of the assassination, said it was decided that OSU would not play Kansas State that week.
Fast-forward to January 1971, in Super Bowl V. Garrison carried the ball for 65 yards and had two receptions for 19 yards. But a 32-yard field goal by Baltimore kicker Jim O'Brien gave the Colts a 16-13 win over the Cowboys in Miami.
The following year, in Super Bowl VI, Garrison rushed for 74 yards and caught two passes for another seven yards. Dallas defeated Miami, 24-3. They were world champions. Did that mean anything in relation to what had happened in 1963 in downtown Dallas?
“You're looking at two different things. One's a sport and one is real life, one is a tragedy,” Garrison said. “Getting beat the year before, that hurt. But it wasn't a tragedy, nobody died. Kennedy died. You don't ever want to forget that.
“But I don't think I ever heard them say, ‘Well since the Kennedy assassination this is the first good thing that's happened with Dallas.' I've never heard that. Again, I think you're looking at two different things.”
Part of the future
Keating and wife, Cathy, split their time between Oklahoma and D.C.
Frank Keating said that when he's traveling and someone asks where he's from and he mentions Oklahoma City, people associate the bombing to the city, but in a very sympathetic way.
“After the bombing, people turned on their televisions and saw this extremely efficient response to a tragedy, very charitable and caring and utterly selfless civic response,” he said. “People saw it as ‘this is a terrible tragedy where somebody invaded your state and blew up one of your buildings, but you handled it with enormous good will and kindness and efficiency and excellence and you set a standard.'”
The aftermath involved moving forward without forgetting what happened and who it affected, because that's for a lifetime, he said. But Keating also praised the leaders who championed MAPS, MAPS for Kids, an arena renovation tax and MAPS 3.
“To have the leadership successfully push those through,” Keating said, “and then have the leadership in the civic community and business community invest in an NBA sports franchise that becomes very successful, very quickly, I think for me and so many, it's just brings a great source of pride.”
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