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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.”


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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