MACOMB, Okla. (KFOR) – They weren’t even around in 1995, not even close.
Eighth graders like Yasmine Backiel-Vance or Connor Hutchins, even freshman Kat Melton had to learn about the Murrah Bombing, then the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in class or by asking their parents.
Yasmine tells us, “The 10th anniversary (of the Murrah Bombing) is on my sister’s birthday.”
Connor adds, “I would always watch the memorial. You know that thing on TV? I would always ask my parents, ‘Where were you when that happened’.”
The community of Macomb can seem like a long way from the rest of the world, but the events that change society reach here as well, to an after-school program run by longtime teacher Shannon Browning who applied for a grant.
“We just filled out the application,” she says with a smile. “Little, tiny Macomb was the only one to fill out that application and we got it, and it just started this journey. It’s been magnificent.”
She took her kids to the National Memorial in Oklahoma City, and as they sat beneath the Survivor Tree, they thought a memorial of their own would be fitting.
Yasmine told us, “I really liked the story of the Survivor Tree.”
Lynne Porter with the Memorial helped them draw it up.
On a school day morning in September, 2021, Jeff Oakley and his crew started digging.
“We’re going to have a layout of rock and stone benches,” he points out.
Porter adds, “We just taught the kids about the importance of the Memorial, what it stands for, the symbolism. They took those components and developed their own peace garden here.”
When the work is complete sometime later this fall, a clone of the Survivor Tree will grow in a miniature replica of the original, a reminder in rural Oklahoma that we’re all connected, and of the important lessons worth learning no matter where you might live.
For more information on Macomb Schools, go to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MacombSchool.
For more information on the Oklahoma National Memorial go here.