Trees planted at Tecumseh Middle School as part of a memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing were cut down to make way for a new sign. Now, a lot of alumni are upset.
It was an oversight and school administrators are owning up to it.
It was nearly 20 years ago, May 4th 1995, when we're told a 6th grade class at Tecumseh Middle School planted dozens of the state tree on the school's campus. But, there seems to be some confusion and some foggy memories when it comes to exactly which trees were planted to be a part of the bombing memorial.
Michael Maxon says his memory is clear.
“Every time we drove by for the last, 19, 20 years, it was like, ‘Hey I planted that,'” said Maxon.
As part of a class project, Maxon says his 6th grade class planted more than 20 Redbud trees along Highway 9, known as Walnut St. through town.
“This is our way of healing, and telling all the victims of the bombing that we cared, and now it's all gone,” said Maxon.
The trees were apparently removed to make way for a new digital school sign.
“I know the school is proud of the new sign, but it could have went somewhere else,” said Maxon. “They didn't have to cut our trees down.”
“We put it back in the same place the old sign was in,” said Tecumseh's school superintendent, Tom Wilsie.
Wilsie says school officials didn't find out until a few days later that those Redbud trees were planted as a memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing.
“There were no plaques. There wasn't anything, you know, no type of marker there,” said Wilsie.
There was no indication at all, according to Wilsie. In fact, he says there was a combination of Bradford Pear trees and Redbuds planted along the fence.
“We were sorry that it happened like that because we would never have taken them out if we had knowledge of that ahead of time,” said Wilsie.
“Very disappointing. I mean, sadness,” said Maxon.
“I'll take responsibility for maybe not checking,” said Wilsie.
Wilsie says the plan now is to have the middle school student council decide on a new memorial and plan a dedication ceremony.
Also, a longtime teacher in the district tells News 9 the trees planted in '95 were not from survivor tree seedlings as some may have thought.