Time seemed to stand still as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building crumbled on April 19, 1995.
Those left behind, including the daughters of bombing victim veterinarian Margaret Clark, had no choice but to move forward.
“I realize now you should do the best you can. You should do everything in your ability to be the best you can be, and help others be the best that they can be,” Chelsea Spencer said.
“I don’t think there is a way you can be unchanged by it,” Rosslyn Biggs said.
The women, Clark’s daughters, spoke on the topic of change in a videotaped interview. Their thoughts and other tributes to their mother can be perused and played by visitors on new multimedia displays at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
The new additions were installed as a result of the 9:03 Fund, a two-year campaign designed to reflect the future and the responsibility that comes with it. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building occurred at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995. At 9:03 that morning, the responsibility of remembering and educating began, memorial officials have said.
Officials targeted April 19, 2015, the 20th anniversary of a bombing that resulted in the deaths of 168 people, as the deadline to raise $15 million. Friday, museum officials announced the campaign had exceeded its goal ahead of schedule. The campaign raised $15,283,588 just ahead of the 19th anniversary of the tragedy.
The memorial intends to use $10 million for its endowment, and $5 million to update and enhance the museum.
The first phase of the upgrades opened to the public Friday. Those included new restrooms, the multimedia displays and a new spot for the Gallery of Honor — 168 display boxes featuring pictures of bombing victims and personal items.
A handful of the display boxes feature new personal artifacts donated by victims’ families.
Further enhancements are under construction behind makeshift walls. The next step of construction includes a second-floor glass overlook that will allow the museum to integrate with the outdoor symbolic memorial.
All told, the project is expected to cost $7 million, said Kari Watkins, executive director of the memorial. This includes $5 million from the campaign and a one-time gift of $2 million from the city of Oklahoma City, she said.
Her family knew her sister, Dr. Margaret Clark, as Peggy, said Susan Winchester, chairman of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation board of trustees. As she stood Friday in front of the display box containing Clark’s picture, Winchester said she hopes the improvements to the museum will help educate young people who never knew a world without the Internet, or even text messages. Younger generations would have trouble connecting to a static display.
Clark wasn’t supposed to be in Oklahoma City the morning of the bombing. She had stopped in her U.S. Department of Agriculture office to collect materials for a lecture, Winchester said Friday. The 42-year-old veterinarian did not survive.
Winchester also provided an interview as part of the new multimedia.
“I’ve told people, that in reality that day, the world did stop,” she says in the interview. “The world did stand still and all the eyes of the world did turn to Oklahoma. And we stood up, and shook ourselves off, and said, ‘This is not going to stop us.’”