The State Senate voted unanimously Tuesday in support of legislation to ensure Oklahoma students will be taught about the Oklahoma City Bombing. House Bill 2750, by Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, and Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, now moves to Governor Brad Henry for consideration.
While 168 lives were lost in the bombing 15 years ago, the terrorist attack deeply impacted people throughout the state. Justice pointed out people in communities throughout Oklahoma lost friends and family members the morning of April 19th, 1995.
“My son-in-law’s 18-month-old nephew, Blake Kennedy, died in the day care center in the Murrah Building. I remember very distinctly the day it happened, and I know how important this is to all the families involved,” Justice said. “I’m honored to have carried this bill in the Senate.”
The legislation directs the State Board of Education to incorporate information about the bombing into the Oklahoma history social studies core curriculum. Denney said she was very happy the bill would soon be on the governor’s desk. The lawmaker and veterinarian lost a close friend in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
“We absolutely cannot allow this day in Oklahoma history to ever be forgotten,” Denney said. “We must teach Oklahoma’s young people what happened and the ramifications of that event in the hopes this event in history will not be repeated.”
Denney’s friend was a fellow veterinarian and employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Clark. Clark was the sister of former State Representative Susan Winchester who now serves as secretary of the board of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. She thanked Denney and Justice for their work in securing passage of HB 2750.
“For those of us that were here in 1995, we remember what happened very, very clearly—as clearly today as we did then but there are so many young people who have no idea what happened and the significance of the bombing,” Winchester said. “Hopefully that will be changed as of today.”
Kari Watkins is the executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and was very gratified that both chambers moved quickly and unanimously to approve HB 2570.
“I’m very pleased the legislature has seen the importance of including information about the Murrah Bombing in the state’s history curriculum,” Watkins said. “It’s important to ensure that this pivotal event in Oklahoma history is never forgotten.”
If signed by the governor, the legislation will take effect on July 1, 2010. Watkins and Winchester said educators can receive curriculum material at any time by contacting the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum by calling 405-235-3313 or at their website at www.okcnationalmemorial.org.