Survivors hope Oklahoma City bombing museum updates will tell story to a new generation

Announcement is made Monday that the “9:03 Fund” campaign for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum has reached its halfway point. Survivors say the new enhancements will touch more lives.
by Bryan Painter Modified: November 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

photo - Survivor Florence Rogers holds her hand over one of the letters recovered in the rubble that used to hang on the  exterior and identify the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Survivor Florence Rogers holds her hand over one of the letters recovered in the rubble that used to hang on the exterior and identify the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. NATE BILLINGS - NATE BILLINGS

Among items planned for display when the campaign goal is reached and the enhancements are made will be Timothy McVeigh's car. McVeigh was convicted as the building's bomber and was sentenced to death.

Gallagher said the car would be included “in an effort to show that justice was served.”

“There are so many people that worked such a long time in their life; it's amazing how city, state, federal all came together to make this happen,” he said. “And when you see that, that evidence stands as how justice was served here.”

Susan Winchester was among those taking the tour Monday night. Her sister, Peggy Clark, was killed in the bombing.

During the tour, Winchester stopped to look at the paneling from the Noble County jail that appears behind McVeigh in his mug shot. She also looked at the T-shirt he was wearing when arrested. These items were on display for Monday night's tour and will not be added until the enhancements are made.

Winchester said the story of the bombing continues, and the items will help.

“I get the chance to do the first-person stories with the kids, and I go about it from my perspective of what it meant to me, and it doesn't mean the same thing to them,” she said. “You have to make it very relevant to them. They're so into the TV shows, the ‘CSI' thing, ‘How did they catch him, and then what happened?' And that's a story you have to tell — that he was caught and he was convicted.

“It shows you he tried so hard to destroy us and to bring Oklahoma and everyone to their knees, and it didn't work.”

‘Very important story'

On that April morning, Florence Rogers held a meeting in her office. At 9:02 a.m., she leaned back in her chair, and suddenly the women across from her were no longer there.

For years, Rogers has shared her story in honor of those lost and fellow survivors.

“I once asked a little Holocaust survivor, ‘How long do you keep telling your story?'” Rogers said. “And she said, ‘As long as you keep touching lives, keep telling your story.'”

Rogers believes the enhancements are a way for the museum to keep telling “a very important story.”

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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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