The Norman Transcript

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April 17, 2012

OKC bombing anniversary to be marked with tree planting

NORMAN — On April 19, 1995, Neil Arter felt the effects of the bomb blast and could see the smoke rising from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building from the Oklahoma Christian University campus. 

His recollection of parts of what happened during the hours and days that followed are a bit foggy. He remembers having questions: What happened? Where did things go wrong? Who did this? 

Like many Oklahomans and Americans, members of the OC community learned about various needs related to the search and rescue effort, said Arter, now OC’s vice president for student life and dean of students. To help those at Ground Zero, they brought water and then blankets, gloves and whatever the media requested, Arter said. 

As time passed, OC administration learned about alumni who were involved in the search and rescue operation and in the archiving process, Arter said. The university also has brought survivors to speak to OC students to help them understand what happened.

Additionally, an OC alum supported 419 Outreach, an Oklahoma organization dedicated to outreach, education and helping mitigate the effects of terrorism in Oklahoma and around the world. The same alum facilitated annual communication between survivors, family members and rescue workers of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Oklahoma City bombing. 

In a show of appreciation to the OC community — a  show of solidarity between the two cities affected by the tragedies — 419 Outreach is donating a seedling from the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. It is also donating a piece of granite salvaged from the Murrah Building ruins on this 17th anniversary of the bombing.

Members of the New York delegation are carrying a cutting from the tree that survived the attacks on the World Trade Center and a steel cross cut from steel in the North Tower. 

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, just west of the Mabee Learning Center on the OC campus, the survivors and rescue workers will participate in a tree planting ceremony and dedication of a memorial plaque.

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