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KGOU and our Oklahoma Public Media Exchange partners' coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing at the 20th anniversary and beyond.

Oklahoma City Bombing Has New Meaning For Younger Generations

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KGOU/Caroline Halter
Attendees listen to opening remarks during the 23rd anniversary ceremony of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 2018.

Elected officials and citizens gathered to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

April 19 marks the anniversary of the deadly bombing of the Murrah Federal Buildings that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Following a bagpipe procession, the city’s newly elected mayor David Holt spoke about the importance of teaching younger generations about the deadly attack.

“It is incumbent upon my generation and rising generations, especially if you live here in Oklahoma City, to carry on the lessons of April 19,” said Holt, who was a high school sophomore in 1995.

Holt’s words resonated with many family members of victims, like Zakeiah Bruton, whose cousin died in the bombing.

“There are good [people] in the world, but there are some bad people in the world,” said Bruton,  who stood next to her cousin’s gravestone, holding her two year old son. “And seems like now with times you can just  never be too careful, like you can end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Bruton says she’ll keep bringing her son to the memorial to teach him to be vigilant as he grows older.

For Wayne Kaylor, who brought his two-year-old daughter to the ceremony, Holt’s words meant something different. He said his wife worried about whether it would be safe for Kaylor and their child to go to the memorial, but he insisted the family attend.

“We can’t give into hatred so much,” said Kaylor. “We can’t let that extreme nature take over. We have to disown that.”

The 1995 explosion remains the most deadly act of domestic terrorism in United States history.

 

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Caroline produced Capitol Insider and did general assignment reporting from 2018 to 2019. She joined KGOU after a stint at Marfa Public Radio, where she covered a wide range of local and regional issues in far west Texas. Previously, she reported on state politics for KTOO Public Media in Alaska and various outlets in Washington State.
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