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Statement on Signing the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997

October 09, 1997

I am pleased to sign today S. 871, the "Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997." This Act establishes the Oklahoma City National Memorial as a unit of the National Park System to recognize the profound changes brought to so many lives on the tragic morning of April 19, 1995.

The significance of the tragedy of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the meaning and implications of this event for our Nation, compel the establishment of this memorial as a visible and prominent national shrine. After the bombing, I proclaimed a National Day of Mourning for those lost in the tragedy. The people of the United States prayed for them and their community as we gathered in our places of worship around the country. When I traveled to Oklahoma City to participate in a memorial service for the bombing victims, I pledged to do all I could to help heal the injured, to rebuild the city, and to stand by the people of Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation has done a tremendous job of involving the public, defining its mission and goals, and holding a design competition for the memorial. Building upon these local efforts, this Act establishes the Oklahoma City Memorial Trust to manage the memorial. This Trust, a Federal Government corporation, will operate within the Department of the Interior in cooperation with the National Park Service to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations and requirements of the laws and policies that govern units of the National Park Systems (NPS).

Through the partnership, the National Park Service will provide technical assistance to the Trust for 2 years, after which time the Trust will reimburse the Park Service for any further services. As part of this partnership, it is my expectation that the National Park Service will establish a position of superintendent or site manager to work closely with the Trust in managing this NPS unit.

Section 5(v)(1) of S. 871 vests the powers and management of the Trust in a Board of Directors consisting of the Secretary of the Interior and eight other members appointed by the President. These Presidential appointments would be made from names submitted by the Governor of Oklahoma, the Mayor of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma congressional delegation. Because the Constitution does not permit limiting the executive branch's appointment power by requiring nominations from lists of recommendations, I will regard any lists submitted pursuant to that section as advisory.

I commend all those who worked so hard to memorialize the lives of the innocent victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.


The White House, October 9, 1997.

NOTE: S. 871, approved October 9, was assigned Public Law No. 105-58.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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