9/11 Memorial Planners Turn To OKC Bombing Memorial For Inspiration

Friday, September 9th 2011, 6:58 pm
By: News 9

Ed Murray, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- On Sunday, New York City will dedicate its 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Centers. An underground museum will open on the site next year.

Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial Executive Director, talked to News 9 about how New York planners turned to Oklahoma City for advice and inspiration.

There has been an unbreakable bond between Oklahoma City and New York since April 19, 1995. New Yorkers were among the first responders here. Several later lost their lives answering a similar call at home on September 11, 2001.

Officials of the memorials here and there have compared notes over the years; water plays an important role at both sites.

"It's calming. It's serene. It answers the questions that we say this memorial offers comfort,strength, peace, hope, and serenity," Watkins said.

Yet, Watkins believes the pools are also quite different. Ours was built to reflect the faces of visitors.

"As the designers said when they built this place, it would be a face changed forever. And so here, it serves several purposes. There, it is very powerful. Rushing water that shows a void. It shows what we lost, not just in people, but freedoms and how this country's changed," Watkins said.

Watkins says New York opens its memorial to a different audience than the one in 1995. But the goals remain the same.

"We're fighting a difference enemy than we fought when this memorial was built. It's a different world. And so we have to look at that and the context this place plays into a much bigger picture that's international now," said Watkins. "By forcing ourselves to remember what happened, it causes us hopefully to make a personal resolve that we'll do what we can to stop it."

Watkins told News 9 she recently visited the New York City Memorial. She says it's a different, yet powerful place. And that America will be very proud of what stands there.

Watkins is also looking to the future of our Memorial. She met today with the original designers and builders on a plan for the next five years.