Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Students reflect on Hope Trunk memorializing Oklahoma City bombing

By Student Public Relations Writer Leah Sternberger

Ohio University-Chillicothe students recently had the opportunity to learn about the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City through the “Hope Trunk,” which contains mementos of the event and was recently on loan to OU-C.

“I like to take my students on field trips to places that they either haven't been or know very little about,” said early education faculty member Jamie Harmount. “After each field trip, the students are required to write a reflection paper where they reflect on what they have learned. When I heard that the Hope Trunk was going to be on the OU-C campus, I thought it was important for my students to see it and to hear about the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing.”

After reading her students’ responses, Harmount was inspired by her students’ deep emotional reaction to the presentation.

“I really had no idea how much they would be moved by the presentation by Associate Dean Brenda Phillips and the items in the trunk. I was so pleased and emotionally moved by my students' reflection papers, I decided to put them in a booklet,” said Harmount.

After learning about the historic tragedy, many of the students gained a new perspective on the impact of senseless violence and terrorism.

“The presentation of the Hope Trunk, really affected me in way I was not expecting to be affected,” said student Lydia Coleman.  “I thought I might take away knowledge about the Oklahoma bombing and that would be about it .Although I gained knowledge about the bombing, I took away a new respect for people that have been through traumatic events. I personally have never experienced a traumatic event. When I was able to hold the granite and see the pieces of glass from the bombing, I felt a wave of sorrow. This is the closest that I have been to even trying to know what it would be like to deal with an act of violence that severe. Knowing that acts of violence can happen anywhere and anytime, it made me think that I need to be prepared in case something would happen in my future,” Coleman said.

Student Tabitha Atwood had a similar reaction to the Hope Trunk.

“I could feel my gut turn,” said Atwood. “How could someone kill so many people? Why? But then I realized, through every terrorist attack and every wound our country has sustained, we all as American people come together. Through the Oklahoma City Bombing, to 9/11, to the Boston Bombings, we all rush to help each other and if anything, we get even stronger.”
Many students wrote about how the presentation inspired them to take action and to help others in the future.

“The next time that something of this magnitude happens, I’ll be the first one to help send the victims items of clothing or food. If I was asked to go help, I would be there to help people in this time of need for them,” said student Kyle Kottenbrook.

The booklet is being sent to the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial so others can understand how the event continues to affect people today.

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