Looking Back, Thinking Forward: 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building - MetroFamily Magazine
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Looking Back, Thinking Forward: 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building

by Erin Page

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, 168 lives were lost, more than 600 injured and the city as a whole changed forever. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial, located where the Alfred P. Murrah Building once stood, was dedicated on April 19, 2000, the five-year anniversary of the bombing. Not long after, the Memorial Museum was opened on Feb. 19, 2001.

As technology has changed, so has the need to evolve curriculum and learning programs for students and families. Like Blayne Arthur has experienced in the remembrance of her mom Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Clark, memorial staff have been diligent in remaining relevant to students, honoring the lives lost and teaching future generations important lessons on strength, courage and resolve.

The following kid-friendly programs and events can help your family remember the tragedy of 1995 while also looking toward a positive future.

  • Called2Change Augmented Reality. Prior to a field trip, students can experience the story of April 19, 1995, in the classroom using augmented reality on tablets. With museum staff as guides, students can interact with 3D buildings, videos and overlays, examine how the news media reported and view the evidence collected at the scene. Learning the story of the bombing is often overwhelming for students, and this introduction better allows them to connect with the museum on their subsequent tour and understand how the evidence fits together in the museum’s lab.
  • Uncover-Discover STEM Lab. Geared toward fifth grade through high school students, STEM is integrated with history lessons using high-tech learning. Participants choose between lessons on structures and waves, discovering which materials are best suited for various types of disasters while considering cost and engineering restraints, or forensics and investigation, collecting and analyzing evidence to solve the largest case of domestic terrorism on American soil. The lab is free to school groups with admission and family nights are held occasionally.
  • Better Conversations: Looking Back — Thinking Forward. Better Conversations teaches students and adults how to resolve conflicts peacefully by looking at how conversations work — listening carefully to other perspectives, sharing personal opinions and practicing patience and civility. Participants will be provided starter discussions on issues important to communities across the state.

Because of the nature of the exhibits and topics, museum staff recommends tours for students in fourth grade and above. But there are plenty of resources for teaching younger kids about the Oklahoma City bombing and the hope and resilience that sprang forth after. Museum staff suggest the following books for elementary age kids:

A Day to Remember by Oklahoma City National Memorial Trust (Watch America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer reading this book at youtube.com.)

The Survivor Tree by Gaye Sanders

If the Fence Could Talk by Brad Robison

Love Won: The Oklahoma Standard by Cathy and Frank Keating


The Oklahoma Standard

Service, honor and kindness, which became apparent in our community’s response to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building became known as the Oklahoma Standard. This April, take the time to demonstrate the Oklahoma Standard and show up to serve, rise up to honor and step up to be kind.

Upcoming Events

April 19

Unlike in year’s past, an in-person Remembrance Ceremony will not be held due to the coronavirus pandemic. A one-hour program, including the traditional 168 seconds of silence and reading of the 168 names of those who were killed, will be aired on local TV stations. Visit memorialmuseum.com for details.

Postponed until Oct. 4

The 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon has been postponed from its original April 26 date until Oct. 4. On this day, students through sixth grade can participate in the Kids Marathon. Kids can register with their schools or as individuals to run and log 25 miles prior to race day, when they will complete the final 1.2 miles on the official course. The 5k is another great option for families to participate in together.


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