The Oklahoman's top quotes of 2013

The Oklahoman's annual recap of the most memorable quotes of 2013.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: January 1, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: January 1, 2014

For most people, the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time of reflection, celebration and promise.

Again, that's for most people.

Newspaper folks are an odder breed. As night drapes its black cloak one last time over 2013, we look back on a year filled with interviews and speeches, news conferences and prepared statements.

We remember words — words that aren't usually our own.

By and large, we're not clever enough — or, sometimes, foolish enough — to say much that's memorable. Our sources, on the other hand ... well, sometimes they say a lot.

So here they are, The Oklahoman's annual Quotes of the Year. We offer for your consideration the funniest, smartest, meanest, saddest, kindest, most truthful, poignant, shocking and unforgettable statements printed in the newspaper in 2013.

We'll be back next December with more.

The tornadoes

• “Haul ass and pray. That's all you can do.” Michael Roberts, who raced from Carney to Moore to find his daughter Addyson, a first-grader at Plaza Towers Elementary School, when it was struck by a tornado on May 20.

• “She was just laying there helpless. All I could do was sit there and hold her. She was already gone. They say she didn't suffer. So I've got to find peace with that.” Laurinda Vargyas, who found her baby girl, Sydnee, dead in a driveway after the May 20 tornado struck their south Oklahoma City home. Vargyas' 4-year-old daughter, Karrina, also was killed. Both girls were torn from their mother's arms by the twister.

• “The picture, to me, it represents depending on each other. I needed that hug as much as that kid did. I needed to touch something tangible that was good coming out of that school.” Jim Routon, 47, on the photograph of him hugging his 6-year-old neighbor, Hezekiah Darbon, outside the wreckage of Briarwood Elementary School. The image, shot by Oklahoman photographer Paul Hellstern, became a symbol of hope and tragedy.

• “There are 800 different variables that could have happened. I've played it over in my head a billion times, and then you finally come to the realization there's nothing you could have done.” Cody Futrell, whose wife Megan and infant son Case died May 20 when the Moore tornado destroyed the 7-Eleven where they had taken shelter.

• “From the forecasters who issued the warnings, to the first responders who dug through the rubble, to the teachers who shielded with their own bodies their students, Oklahomans have inspired us with their love and their courage and their fellowship.” President Barack Obama, in Moore, on May 26.

• “I love my location and would 100 percent want to stay here, somewhere on this corner. It's really a 'new beginning' now.” Jenifer Halstead, owner of A New Beginning Florist in Moore, whose store was damaged by the May 20 tornado.

• “My love, we're going to die.” Maria Pol Martin, 26, uttering her last words to her husband before the May 31 tornado pulled her and her infant son from their minivan. She and her 17-day-old baby, Rey Chicoj Pol, were among eight people killed by the massive El Reno tornado.


• “Branan, Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don't hear that this bill will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, yoru family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.” Sooner Tea Party co-founder Al Gerhart, in an email (with one misspelled word) he sent to state Sen. Cliff Branan. Gerhart admitted he sent the message in an effort to influence legislation; instead, he was charged with two felonies.

• “Absolutely nothing. We have found another way to kick the can down the road is what we've done.” Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, one of the primary proponents of forcing Democrats' hand on Obamacare and the budget, on what the government shutdown accomplished.

• “It is one of the few areas where the government does it right. It has great leadership and great internal controls.” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, referring to the National Security Agency after leaks by a former contractor that the agency was collecting massive amounts of phone and Internet records.

• “It is my belief that U.S. military involvement in Syria's civil war is not in our national interest,” Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City.

• “I had a horrible loss eight days ago, losing a son.” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, on the Senate floor on Nov. 18.

• “It was a loss for the nation but to an extent, our family not only lost a president, they lost a colleague and a friend.” Drew Edmondson speaking about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years later.


• “They've had the best team in college football. They haven't had the whole best conference. ... You're listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed to you.” Sooners football coach Bob Stoops, talking in May about the SEC's growing reputation as the best conference in college football.

• “As an NFL fan, I have always admired the Washington NFL franchise for its professionalism and excellence. However, like most Native Americans, I find the name of the franchise to be insensitive and offensive.” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a Chickasaw, on the Washington Redskins name.

• “I want to be the greatest.” Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, speaking in October about what drives him.

• “Nobody on the other team, what they got to say about my opinions or anything, I'm not losing sleep over none of that. Because I'm enjoying myself playing this game. I'm blessed to just be in this league. You can bash me. You can bash our team. So what? I mean, at the end of the day, I'm still doing something I love every single day, and I'm fighting for something bigger than myself. And that's a great feeling.” Durant, explaining what he's learned about life in the NBA.


• “Probably my greatest joy today, as I look out and see you all, is knowing that this company played such a leading role in the transformation of the industry. As a consequence, we have lower energy costs, greater prosperity, cleaner air, less foreign oil and fewer — hopefully no more — foreign entanglements.” Aubrey McClendon, in a farewell speech to his former employees at Chesapeake Energy. McClendon, the company's co-founder and top executive, left the company April 1.

The picture, to me, it represents depending on each other. I needed that hug as much as that kid did. I needed to touch something tangible that was good coming out of that school.”

Jim Routon,

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