Twenty-Five Years Later: Thunder and Knicks to Honor 1995 First Responders at Friday Game
Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 5, 2020 – The Oklahoma City Thunder and Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum will join the New York Knicks and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in paying tribute to police, fire and rescue crews from Oklahoma City and New York who responded to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The recognition will take place at the March 6 Thunder vs. Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, which marks the first road game the Thunder will wear its 2020 City Edition uniform, inspired by and designed in partnership with the Oklahoma City Memorial. The uniform commemorates the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred on April 19, 1995 and killed 168 people.
First responders from Oklahoma City who will be in attendance include police, fire and EMSA crews, while the New York representatives include police and fire personnel who were deployed to Oklahoma City as part of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams, and later responded to the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York. The group also includes families representing several members of the New York police and fire departments who assisted Oklahoma City in 1995 and later died in the line of duty on 9/11.
“The bravery of the first responders who are being honored was a beacon of light during unspeakable tragedies in Oklahoma City and New York. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to honor them,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti, who also serves as an executive board member of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “The Thunder organization expresses a great deal of gratitude to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, the New York Knicks and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for asking us to support their work together as we remember and revere the courage of these heroes.”
As part of the evening's events, the group of first responders from both cities will reunite and have an opportunity to watch the Thunder and Knicks warm up prior to the game. Later, those who responded to both tragedies will hold the American flag during the performance of the national anthem. During the first timeout of the game, representatives for teams and memorials will exchange team jerseys in an on-court moment honoring the connection.
“Both April 19 and September 11 began as ordinary days where extraordinary heroes emerged,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “In this 25th anniversary year, we commemorate our shared experience with New York by honoring the first responders who served our cities and set a new standard for emergency response that continues to save lives today.”
Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and his wife Cathy will also be in attendance. Keating was governor in 1995 and helped oversee the state response to the April 19 bombing. As part of their efforts in the aftermath of the tragedy, the Keatings made it a priority to offer comfort, assistance and appreciation to all first responders, particularly those who came from out of state.
Media note: For coverage of any of these activities, please contact a member of the Thunder Corporate Communications staff.