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Attendance seems lighter at 17th anniversary observance of OKC bombing

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
One of the "Gates of Time" that faces the "Reflecting Pool" at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
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OKLAHOMA CITY --  As one observer noted, it seemed as though cops and Homeland Security outnumbered officials and others at Thursday’s observance of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building here in downtown Oklahoma City.

Indeed. Next to the bombing memorial, Homeland Security had parked an enormous mobile command vehicle. What they were watching or why they were present was not clear. Men in dark sunglasses were witnessed snapping pictures of passers-by and uniformed police, representing various agencies, wandered around the site, armed and unsmiling. Perhaps it was an effort to remind visitors as to who is really in charge.

Most notable, though, was that this year's bombing observance on what turned out to be a beautiful spring day seemed a bit more subdued and not as heavily attended as we have witnessed in previous years. With it being the 17th anniversary and not a milestone year like the 10th or 15th folks may not have felt compelled to attend the public event.

As Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett told those gathered that we need to remember April 19, 1995 “with reverence,” and that we “choose to remember” those who died and those who are still with us.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the bombing did not “cripple” Oklahoma City, rather it caused people to to rise up, uniting the city, state and the nation.

Said Fallin: “Instead, the people of Oklahoma banded together – with the help of volunteers and well-wishers from across the nation and even the world – to overcome. We worked together; we comforted one another; and we rebuilt. Today we are a more prosperous city and a stronger people.”

While 19 children died in the America’s Kids Child Development Center, Christopher Nguyen was not yet 5-years old when he survived the bombing. Now he is getting his degree in marketing and finance at the University of Oklahoma and he told those gathered that “we are here to remember those who were killed, those we survived and those who were changed forever.”

One of the speakers whose life was also “changed forever” was a young woman named Morgan Merrell, whose whose mother Frankie Ann Merrell died in the blast when Morgan was two-years old. The young woman is now a student at Oklahoma City University and is still saddened that she did not get to really know her mother.

There was a nice rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by the Edmond North High School orchestra.

Talking to Red Dirt Report, Payne County resident George Fanning, wearing an American flag shirt and a crucifix around his neck, said that he suspects the mysterious passenger in the Ryder truck with Timothy McVeigh that morning was likely an undercover OSBI agent.

Fannin wondered why OSBI agents weren’t in their office that morning.

Fanning said he thought the whole operation that severely damaged the building and took 168 lives “got out of hand.”

“It went too far and they tried to cover it up,” Fanning said, suggesting a wider conspiracy.

Fanning said he has lost a lot of faith in law enforcement authorities, saying that “If they’re wearing a badge, you can’t really trust them.”

That level of mistrust is far more widespread than you might suspect. We have talked to a number of people who do not believe the official story where McVeigh and Terry Nichols were the only ones involved. And some of those same people are getting active and confronting the official lie with the truth.

Strategically positioned at different street corners surrounding the bombing memorial site were members of WeAreChange Oklahoma. They passed out free DVD’s of the new Free Mind Films documentary on the Oklahoma City bombing titled A Noble Lie.

We talked to the WAC-OK activists, including James Lane, Holland Van den Nieuwenhof, Cliff Moser, Bobby Kessler and Kevin Journey.

Journey said that he was working at Landry’s restaurant (now Joe’s Crab Shack) on Northwest Expressway on the morning of the bombing. Although he was miles away from ground zero, he said it felt like a “dumpster truck had run into the building.”

Over time he began looking deeper into the bombing mystery and was stunned by what he learned, from the murder of hero Oklahoma City Police Dept. Officer Terry Yeakey and the sudden sale of KFOR Channel 4 to the New York Times Broadcasting Co., a year after the bombing, “and all reporting contrary to the official story was shut down," as noted in this article.

Journey and the other WAC-OK activists said most people took the A Noble Lie DVD’s and even engaged in conversation, talking about how they were impacted by the bombing in different ways.

“Seventeen years after the fact, I think we’re doing pretty good,” Journey said, adding, “Most movements take 10 years to get the ball rolling.”


Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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