Twenty-four years ago, a young man named McVeigh parked his rented moving truck on the street behind the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Inside the truck, a bomb would soon detonate and change the lives of countless people.
One hundred sixty-eight people dead.
I taught second graders just four miles away. We heard the explosion. We felt the concussion. We experienced the emotions.
Confusion. Fear. Confusion.
I will relay my story - my personal experiences with the 1995 terrorist attack - today. My experience with being the one responsible for leading the school into a red alert, locking the outside doors. My wife's experience of holding the one-year-old who was famously photographed in the firefighter's arms. My grandmother's experience of panic, thinking "they" were "blowing up Oklahoma City".
It is a history that needs to be remembered, studied, and learned from - one evil act counteracted by hundreds of thousands of generous responses in return. This, like Joplin's response to the tornado, eight years ago, was a defining moment - a moment when we found out who we were. In Oklahoma City, they call that response "The Oklahoma Standard".
We will look at my pictures of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, today. I'll take our fourth graders inside one of the best museums I've ever experienced.