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Oklahoma Christian honors victims of Oklahoma City bombing

Oklahoma Christian University honors

Twenty-six years after the Oklahoma City bombing, Oklahoma Christian’s Ralph and Maxine Harvey Field of Flag honors victims. 

There were 168 Oklahoman and American flags displayed, representing the lives lost in the explosion of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

Oklahoma Christian also supports the annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which normally takes place every April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s marathon is postponed to October. 

Kerri Cunningham, Oklahoma Christian’s event coordinator, said the flags go up every year. They stay on display for about one week for the events on April 19 and Sept. 11. 

“President deSteiguer saw a similar display when visiting Pepperdine University many years ago,” Cunningham said. “Their display had many more flags honoring the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. He came back to OC and wanted us to do something similar honoring those lives lost in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing in Oklahoma City.”

Cunningham said Oklahoma Christian wants students to be reminded of the bombing and its victims. 

“Our hope is the flags remind everyone that evil is present but good can overcome,” Cunningham said. 

Cunningham said the bombing affected the Oklahoma Christian community. 

“Many at OC had friends who worked in the building that day or knew someone whose life was changed that day,” Cunningham said. “Our small community on this campus is surrounded by and part of a much larger Oklahoma City community. Everyone felt the pain and sadness that day brought to our community. Neil Arter hosts a group on campus annually who are survivors of both events and has developed a very meaningful relationship with them.”  

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum remembrance ceremony

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum held an in-person remembrance ceremony on April 19. KOCO 5 live streamed the invite-only event. One thousand tickets were sent out for family members, survivors and first responders. Everyone at the event was required to wear a mask, and U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland was the keynote speaker.

Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, said Oklahoma City shines hope on people. 

“I think when they see us 26 years later and we figured out how to put one foot in front of the other – that doesn’t mean Monday is an easy day for anyone,” Watkins said. “We have lost so many lives to this pandemic, and so many people are hurting. I hope people can look at these family members and survivors and first responders who are similar to people on the front line who have worked night and day to help all of us.”

Watkins said the COVID-19 pandemic is also something people will not forget. 

“What we say Monday is ‘we will never forget,’” Watkins said. “We’ll never forget what happened and what we’ve gone through in the last, you know, 13 to 14 months. And we’re never going to forget that either, not in my lifetime, in your lifetime.”

Watkins said there is still progress to be made. 

“I think for our country, even with the vaccines and even being able to get back together, we still have some healing to do and some uniting to do,” Watkins said. “I think that is going to take some time and some patience, and it is a lot of grace.”

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