OKLAHOMA CITY — Before the ceremony to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever, before the speeches and the silence, a small group from the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum worked to decorate every victim’s chair.
“It just gives us a chance to go and place something on the chair, a very small token, but it just shows that we remember,” Kari Watkins said, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Executive Director.
Watkins and her crew tied bouquets of flowers to each monument, turning the Field of Empty Chairs into a field in full bloom.
But the flowers weren’t just about adding color to the ceremony.
Watkins asked her crew to spare a thought for every victim who received their flowers.
“When you place these on there, just take a second, look at the name and remember what we’re doing,” Watkins said.
The flowers and thoughts brought a smile to Orlando Cruse who came to honor his friend, Woody.
“I’m so so so appreciative of everybody, you know,” Cruse said.
Beyond what touching those who visited the memorial Thursday, Watkins said she hopes the flowers help strengthen the memorial.
“It’s not about any one person. It’s about what this memorial means to Oklahoma City,” Watkins said.
Teleflora provided the flowers and New Leaf Florists cleaned and arranged them.
Watkins and other memorial staff put the flowers out every April 19.