Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a crown in Oklahoma City following the April 19, 1995 Murrah Bombing.
President Clinton meets with city leaders and rescue workers in planning the national memorial.
In the above picture posted at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, President Clinton pauses at a chair of the memorial.
By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- President Bill Clinton was honored Wednesday evening for his work in helping transform Oklahoma City following the Murrah Bombing 15 years ago and for his international peace work.
When the bombing happened, President Clinton became a real friend to Oklahoma City in just a few days and that friendship hasn't stopped. The president was honored as the 6th recipient of the Reflections of Hope Award, not only because of the impact he has left behind in Oklahoma City, but also for his global peace work.
"I'm better off for it because I've lived through something that a few other handful of people say they have," survivor Christopher Nguyen said.
At 5-years-old, Christopher Nguyen was one of the smallest survivors, and even though he didn't know it, the president was stepping in to help, leaving his fingerprints all over the city.
"I think he's done a lot in regards to the memorial and he doesn't have to, but he chooses to benefit it for us and all the people affected by it," Christopher Nguyen said.
President Clinton's presence was evident in the days following the bombing and in present day. The pictures around the museum share the stories of how he shaped Oklahoma City.
"That was the attitude from the very first day was, 'Whatever you need, Mayor, we'll make sure that you get it,'" former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick said.
Norick worked closely with the President and officials, expediting millions of dollars in funding to rebuild the federal building.
"The Murrah Building housed a lot of federal agencies and when the building was destroyed those agencies had to disperse and find property into the city and a lot of them went into the suburbs," Norick said.
It was a controversial and unpopular move to bring it back downtown but the federal building was a symbol of the Sooner State's resilience.
"We had to have that anchor, those people downtown, and we felt it was important symbolically and psychologically that terrorists did not win in Oklahoma City," Norick said. "Without the President's leadership the downtown campus for the federal agencies, I don't think would have happened at all."
But the President made it happen. He also secured funding to build the memorial from ground up and made sure the needs of the survivors and the families were met on every level.
"It didn't matter what your skin color was, I didn't matter what your checking account had, all that mattered was you were a person who was impacted and he was going to make sure you got help," Kari Watkins with the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum said.
Watkins said Clinton also took the extra steps to bring swift justice, signing a legal action that also allowed families to watch the trial.
"It is a way for us to show people all over the country in this time of incredible, and some negativity toward the government, that we all have a role we can play, but it's not violent or becoming a terrorist or extremist in any way, that we all have a responsibility to come in the middle, which we have seen from this place," Watkins said.
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