House Observes OKC Bombing Anniversary

Apr 16, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – The upcoming 29th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing was remembered in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday with a special presentation.

House Resolution 1037, authored by Reps. Rick West, R-Heavener, and Ellyn Hefner, D-Oklahoma City, recalls the events of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and expresses gratitude to those who responded to the act of terrorism.

The bombing resulted in the deaths of 168 people and injured more than 850 others. It is the worst domestic terrorist attack ever to occur in United States history.

West, who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the time of the bombing, lost seven co-workers that day. Each year that he's served as a state representative, he's presented a resolution in the House to remember his coworkers and others killed or injured in the terrorist bombing.

"It is gut-wrenching to relive the events of the Oklahoma City bombing," West said. "But as legislators and Oklahomans, we have a responsibility. We've got people who were not born when this terrible atrocity happened, so it's up to the ones who remember to tell our stories so that we never, ever forget." 

Hefner said, "Today’s presentation was a solemn one as we remember those lost and honor the lives of countless others forever changed. The brutality of the attack brought out a brave and tender response."

Tuesday's floor presentation featured several guest speakers, including Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur told the emotional story of how her mother was killed in the bombing. Arthur was accompanied by her sister Rosslyn Biggs and their aunt Susan Winchester, who also serves as Gov. Stitt's Cabinet Secretary of Licensing and Regulation. Longtime family friend, Dr. Lee Denney, a former state representative, gave the closing prayer during Tuesday's ceremony.

Also in attendance were Kari Watkins, director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and members of her staff.

A video produced by House Communications was shown, profiling several House and Senate sergeants who assisted in the recovery efforts after the bombing. The sergeants were recognized on the House floor as well. Acknowledged were: House sergeants Bobbie Barnett, Joe Bullock , Harvey Weathers and Nita Williams; House Chief of Security John Dawson; and Senate sergeants Rusty Higby and Stewart Meyer.

Hefner said she is "proud to work alongside sergeants in the House and Senate who showed Oklahoma City their bravery and tenderness 29 years ago. Their stories and the painfully beautiful story Blayne Arthur and her sister Rosslyn Biggs shared will help us never forget."

She said she also is grateful to Kari Watkins and the staff at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum for "continuing the mission of the memorial and helping us never forget."

The full text of HR1037 can be read here. The video of House sergeants sharing their memories can be seen here

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal