Oklahomans are first of all Americans, and we share the shock and
sadness and anger of our countrymen over the awful events of September 11,
But we are also unique in having experienced a similar terror assault
just six years ago. Many of us feel the tragedies of New York, Washington
and Pennsylvania through scars still fresh from April 19, 1995.
And many of us lost friends in both attacks on our nation.
You may recall that one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
teams that came to Oklahoma City after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995
was from New York City.
They were led by a fire chief named Ray Downey, who became a great
friend to our state.
On September 11, Chief Downey led New York firefighters into the
devastated World Trade Center buildings. He and many more died when those
We knew Ray Downey, but we knew all those who lost their lives on
September 11. They were our American neighbors. They stood with us in 1995,
and we stand with them today.
Oklahoma was one of the first states in the nation to send donated
blood to New York. I dispatched an Oklahoma Air National Guard plane late
on the day of the attacks. It carried lifesaving blood donated by
Oklahomans who stood in long lines throughout the day to do their part.
Other Oklahomans are sending cards and letters and Teddy bears for the
children -- just as our fellow Americans sent us cards and letters and
Teddy bears in 1995.
By the time you read this, we will know additional details about the
events of that day. Hopefully, more wounded will have been recovered.
Hopefully, the dead will be coming home to be honored by their loved ones.
And hopefully, our nation, its resolve still firm, its freedom still a
bright beacon, will be moving to apprehend and hold accountable the cowards
behind this vicious assault.
As in 1995, may America endure the storm with love and faith and
courage. God Bless our beloved nation.