Commission approves request for burial at Capitol

Monday, November 22nd 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The common remains of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing will be buried in a grove of trees that Iowans planted on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol. The Capitol-Medical Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request Monday to allow the burial of the casket at the top of a horseshoe formed by a brick sidewalk engraved with the names of the168 victims of the April 19, 1995, bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Relatives of the victims and survivors will gather in the grove on for a planned ceremony Dec. 11. Letters are being sent to the families and survivors to outline the ceremony. Denise Martin, a staff member with the commission, said there were some concerns about setting a precedent with the request. But she said the commission has been assured by attorneys that there are ways to address those concerns for the future.

The grove is between the Oliver Hodge Building and the Oklahoma Tax Commission Building, which opens south toward the Capitol. Iowans planted trees for each of the 168 bombing victims. The victims' relatives and survivors had wanted the remains buried at the bomb site, but federal law prohibited that.

Meanwhile Monday, the Wal-Mart/Sam's Club Foundation presented a$100,000 grant to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation to help fund the memorial that is to open April 19 on the fifth anniversary of the bombing. Almost $21 million of the $29.1 million needed for the Oklahoma City National Memorial has been raised. "Wal-Mart and Sam's Club recognize that this memorial not only pays tribute to the victims of the explosion and their families, but to the entire community who pulled together in support of one another during an incredibly difficult time," said Terry Crabb, who works for Wal-Mart.

Crabb was a federal agent at the time of the bombing and worked at the bombing scene. "Our associates in the greater Oklahoma City area are proud to play a part in building this symbol to that unity, and in remembering the impact of violence."