Rose State College Lecturer Has Links to Items Placed on the Fence
Midwest City, Okla. – If the Fence Could Talk tells the story of the fence that was erected to protect the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after the April 19 bombing and became a place of remembrance and hope for Oklahoma.
Brad Robison was working at the Oklahoma Christian Library on the morning of April 19, 1995. When the building shook he and a co-worker were worried there was structural damage causing the loud noise. When going to check the third floor of the building Robison looked out the window and noticed smoke coming from the downtown Oklahoma City area. After assessment of the third floor and realizing the building was in fact fine, he went about his normal duties at work. Then five to ten minutes later he visited the Business Operator and noticed they had the television on. When he saw the breaking news it was then he was able to put two and two together.
The devastation that took place that day changed Oklahomans emotionally but did not change the Oklahoma way. Immediately Oklahomans offered their time and services to step in and help those in need. In 1997 Brad Robison acted as a volunteer to assist an archivist in collecting items from the fence that surrounded what was once the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Shortly thereafter, he was hired as the Assistant Archivist and served on the Memorial Steering Committee. Working as a volunteer archivist and the Assistant Archivist, Robison would take a photo of a portion of the fence, remove the items to archive and place them on wooden pallets with the dates they were removed. He later became the Director of the Lawson Terrorism Information Center for the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT).
After time passed Robison made a career change and made his way to Rose State College. Here he decided to pursue speaking at the Great Lecture Series held in the Library. He gave his lecture from an interesting perspective. Robison says, “It was important for me to tell the story from the standpoint of what the fence witnessed from the beginning. In the planning committees developing the concept of the Memorial, several family members and or survivors did not want the fence to go away when the memorial was to be built. In their words, “It is America’s Hallmark card to us.” The fence had become so important to those most impacted by the bombing that the designers of the Memorial incorporated this into the plan by having the fence placed near the 9:03 gate, which represents the first moment of healing or the moment right after the blast.”
The response he received from those who attended the lecture were so positive and from several he was encouraged to write a book. The thought had not even crossed his mind. Later he was invited to give his lecture to a group of Grad students, he received positive feedback and again was encouraged to write a book. “I really had not intended it to be a book, it was simply going to be one of the lectures for the Great Lecture series here at Rose State,” said Robison.
Somewhere along the way his motivation changed and decided he was going to write a book and it was published and released on May 29, 2015.
You can find his book for purchase now in the Gaylord-Pickens Museum Store, www.oklahomahof.com, www.amazon.com, and in bookstores statewide. The book retails for $19.95 and all proceeds will go to the Oklahoma Heritage Association Scholarship fund.
About Oklahoma Heritage Association Scholarship Fund: By offering more than $4,000,000 in scholarships to Oklahoma high school students, the Oklahoma Heritage Association hopes to encourage students to continue their education in the state and then make their homes here. www.oklahomahof.com