April 23, 2020
There is no doubt: the coronavirus has had an impact on our state and our nation. It has required many of us to adapt our daily lives and create new routines that reflect the reality of what we are facing today. For many, we are learning to do things within the four walls of our homes. Work, school—even church. Many of us, myself included, are now connecting virtually. Others, the heroes among us—health care workers, truckers, delivery and postal workers, food service professionals and countless others—are braving the front lines of the battle. They are sacrificing of themselves for our safety every single day, and we are grateful.
As we face this public health crisis, it is important to remember that Oklahomans have been tested before. This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the worst domestic terrorist attack in history: the Oklahoma City Bombing.
I remember that day so clearly. One hundred and sixty-eight people murdered. I had close friends who died that day and I know so many others who lost family, friends and loved ones. It was a day that forever changed our proud state. We could have let that moment define us and change us for the worse. It would have been easy to do so. But that’s not the Oklahoma way.
Instead, that day solidified what we now know as the Oklahoma Standard. Two words that have come to encompass everything Oklahoma stands for during times of hardship or crisis. It’s hard to explain for those who don’t have the privilege to live in our great state. Simply put, the Oklahoma Standard is knowing that when you are in need, someone will be there to lend a helping hand and vice versa.
It’s also so much more.
In 1995, the Oklahoma Standard was the man who donated the shoes off his feet, or the people who stood in line for hours to donate blood. Today, it is the health care worker who shows up every day for work, risking their own well-being to care for patients. It’s the small business who transforms their operation to make Personal Protective Equipment. It’s the teacher who works overtime on new lesson plans to ensure they can continue to play a role in their students’ lives even if its remotely. It’s the employee packing grocery store shelves so we can put food on our plates every night. It’s the church that has gone the extra mile to bring their congregation together by holding Easter services online.
Second Corinthians reminds us to not lose heart in times of hardship and tragedy. Oklahomans never lose heart. In times of hardship, instead of running away from each other, we find a way to help one another, grow and show each other love in the process. After the Oklahoma City bombing, we came together as a state to rebuild stronger and better than ever before. I have no doubt that same standard that got us through the tragedy in 1995 will pull us through the crisis we are facing today. It is during this time that I am reminded how blessed I am to be an Oklahoman. We will get through this together. One day at a time. With God’s help. That’s the Oklahoma Standard.