OKC National Memorial & Museum strives to facilitate Better Conversations

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is working to inspire better conversations within the community.

The OKC Memorial & Museum launched Better Conversations – Looking Back Thinking Forward on Friday, Feb. 21.

The 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing will be on April 19.

“During this anniversary year, the Memorial Museum is positioned to be a platform for Better Conversations. We hope we can be a catalyst for initiating Better Conversations across all generations, improving discussions on hard topics challenging our community at work, home, school, and across our nation,” an OKC Memorial & Museum news release states.

Looking back while thinking forward in part involves learning to have better conversations with each other. It’s something many of us call the Oklahoma Standard.

NPR host Krista Tippett was at the national memorial Friday to talk about that standard.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, KFOR News Director Natalie Hughes, KFOR anchor Kevin Ogle and Flashpoint panelist Mike Turpen were also at the national memorial.

Tippett discussed the importance of civility in our daily interactions, especially in the wake of tragedy.

“This is the adventure of our lifetime. Do we live it to the best of our capacities? We can meet each other, and something new can happen and we can share life. And if nothing else, find the questions that we have in common as we walk forward. What you all are undertaking here is a local effort to model, to explore that and to model it,” Tippett said.

Better Conversations will focus on the following six virtues: words that matter, humility, generous listening, hospitality, patience and adventurous civility.

The horrific bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building resulted in the death of 168 people; and more than 680 people were injured. The bombing, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, is the deadliest domestic terrorist attack committed on American soil.

The Memorial has become a model for engaging and teaching the lessons learned after the bombing.

“This is exactly how the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was built and how Oklahoma healed. People came together, worked through tough issues, having civil discussions, face-to-face. While working through their own grief and vulnerability, those involved in the Memorial process had to learn to listen to other perspectives, share their personal opinions and engage in authentic conversations. The importance of teaching conversational skills, particularly now, cannot be emphasized enough,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

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