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Conscience Committee Formed to Keep Murrah Bombing Memories Alive

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The Conscience Committee meets as needed, but usually have one big meeting once a year. The Conscience Committee meets as needed, but usually have one big meeting once a year.
The Conscience Committee was formed to represent the core of those affected by the bombing. The Conscience Committee was formed to represent the core of those affected by the bombing.

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Behind every major event and decision at the Oklahoma City National Memorial there is a group of people who serve as the conscience behind each outcome.

Each survivor's perspective from April 19, 1995, comes with a story of courage and the hard lessons learned from that day.

"I didn't hear anything," said survivor Janet Beck. "All of a sudden, everything went dark."

Her name is now carved into the very wall that housed her office 15 years ago. It now is home to the names of survivors.

"I've made a lot of changes, my attitude toward things is better," said Beck." I don't get upset about things like I used to. I just try to look at the positive."

Another name on the wall belongs to a woman whose resilience is reflected in the survivor tree she loves.

"It seems like some weeks I cry every day and sometimes you can do for a month and not cry," survivor Beverly Rankin said.

The bombing brought the rawest emotions of the human spirit; emotions are Rankin's survivor lesson on life.

"If you don't tell people how you feel about them they're not going to know," said Rankin. "It's very important to give hugs and tell people you love them and it's OK if someone cries."

Tom Kight knows tears, knows grief. Twice a year he puts a wreath up for his stepdaughter, Frankie, killed in the bombing. Her chair strikes a chord each time.

"May sound a little silly, I talk to Frankie when I come down here," said Kight. "I called her Franklin, nickname. I've, uh, let's just put it this way, it has an emotional impact."

Oklahoma City Fire Chief Keith Bryant was an off-duty firefighter at the time, now the chair of the Conscience Committee to make sure the memorial's events reflect compassion and respect.

"It's something that's really been a privilege for me to be a part of," Bryant said.

Dr. Ellie Lottenville had the impossible task of making death notifications back in 1995.

"Well, I think it's a very important committee," said Lottenville. "When I was asked to go on the committee it was a very humbling experience."

They all consider each other the members, a support group of sorts, a second family. Together their personal perspectives are helping to make decisions on the right way to harness Oklahoma City's heartbreak on each anniversary.

"It's important that the people that went through it, the survivors, rescue workers, family members, are the ones that plan it," said Lottenville. "There are times the bombing comes back, I think, for everyone. It brings the tears again and I think it always will."

The Conscience Committee has been in place since the beginning and had a big say in how the memorial was built in the first place.

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