Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Kari Watkins describes the mission and role of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
The memorial is really built to remember those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever.
While we tell the stories about the perpetrators, it really is about remembrance and lessons learned and how we cull that information together so that we hopefully can prevent or teach against future acts. And we think without remembering, we are more likely to repeat the same stupidity, I mean the same negligence of just thinking that by doing these things we can change lives. And we want to encourage people of all ages to work together, within the law, when they want to change something to work within government and the law that is set forth. And we have seen that done since and that’s a big part of our mission.
And so we want as kids come through to understand the role the FBI had in this story and how an ordinary highway patrolman doing his job did it really well. And how this one circumstance had to force government agencies of all levels to work together—city, state, federal. And within our Federal Government—interagency work. And that’s something I think is a life lesson that we try to teach and show very clearly for people.
A building was attacked—a government building was attacked—in a way to try to defeat the government. And what happened was a unity really like none we have seen. People came together and worked together and said the government will survive and after two days the Federal Credit Union reopened and federal agencies reopened and people worked together.
And part of that story that we want to re-tell is that even though people try to bring down the very government in which we believe in, we will survive and it will be that same government that will defend the criminals and prosecute the criminals at the same time.
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