[pullquote]We Have A New Generation.”[/pullquote]
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett anchored the 10 p.m. news the night before the attack and was home the next morning when the bomb exploded. He says he felt the blast concussion hit his house, which was 10 miles away from the site downtown. Today, the blast that shook the city, and the world, continues to have a major impact, Cornett says.
“With time, it’s apparent that it created a sense of community and togetherness that continues to this day. The degrees of separation between most people who lived here and someone directly affected by the bombing are few. If you lived here during the bombing, you probably knew someone who was killed, injured or lost a loved one. So it created a bond in our community that was – and continues to be – rock solid,” Cornett says.
In the long run, Cornett says he believes the attack, the 168 lives lost and the way city officials and the community responded has brought everyone together.
“It was as if the entire community took each other by the hand, raised ourselves up and dared anyone to try to separate us,” Cornett says. “Much of what we now call the Oklahoma City Renaissance – the remarkable growth and community investment in our city over the past 20 years – was certainly enhanced by this unshakeable community spirit. For two decades, most everyone in Oklahoma City has been pulling on the same rope and the results have been amazing.”
With all of the city’s recent growth, however, it is even more important to honor the anniversary of the bombing because many people who now live in the city were not there 20 years ago.
“More than half of the people in the city today did not live here in 1995, and we have a new generation that has no memory of 1995. This is a generation that believes the ballpark has always been downtown, that the river has always had water and that we’ve always had an NBA team. Because that’s the city in which they have grown up. That’s the city our residents have created for them,” Cornett says.
Cornett reiterates the idea that the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum board of directors conceived to honor the 20th anniversary. Citizens can exemplify the Oklahoma Standard by performing one act of kindness, one act of service and one act of honor during the month of April.
“Imagine how powerful that can be when we all participate,” Cornett says.