Years have passed, 17 to be exact.
But the memories of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building haven't.
The 17th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony will begin at 8:55 a.m. Thursday on the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial.
Similar to previous years, 168 seconds of silence will be observed at 9:02 a.m. for those lost as a result of the bombing.
“It is important to remember,” said Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “The city could have gone in a million different directions following the bombing and the people of this city chose to remember. Building the memorial and museum in the heart of our downtown forces people to remember and to pause each time they pass or stop to learn. The annual remembrance ceremonies are much the same way.
“These 60 minutes of remembrance cause us to remember the horror and then celebrate the hope of renewal and moving forward for those closest to the terrorist attack and those who simply were changed forever that day.”
Watkins said that now a new generation of children who were not even born in 1995 are being taught about what took place. The history is critical to ensure they know how far the city and its people have come. She referred to a program this week at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, a writer, lecturer, teacher and museum development consultant who contributed to the conceptual design of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
He said the act 17 years ago is going from living memory, those who were here and remember the event, to historical memory, a new generation that doesn't remember this act. He said it is critical that the next generation learn about the event.
Watkins stressed the importance of the yearly observation.
“While life does move forward, it is important to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever on April 19, 1995, each year, and it is the most powerful hour of contemplation and celebration of life for this city,” she said.
Earlier this month, the executive director was walking through the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum one day and saw a group of eight to 10 students from the
“We began to watch them learn from scratch a story they really didn't know,” Watkins said. “The lessons learned in Oklahoma City by so many and the heroic stories of the family members, survivors and rescue workers that include both ups and downs are changing lives every day as they are learned by our visitors. They see that in everything something good can come from evil and that these people are human in their response but have learned how to overcome.
“Everyone can relate to those basic lessons in so many ways.”
Watkins hopes the people of Oklahoma realize the example they set for the world in 1995 and that people even today, 17 years later, look to us for answers. The lessons and the strengths of Oklahoma City and its people are looked at from afar with honor and amazement.
“Oklahomans chose the tougher road to rebuild and remember and I'm certainly glad we did,” she said.