The Edmond Sun


May 24, 2013

Spirit of Oklahoma strong in tornadoes

EDMOND — It took just a few minutes for it all to happen. Warm, moist air collided with cold, dry air like it does so often here in Tornado Alley. This time though was a little different. In less than a few dozen minutes a violent tornado was barreling down on the neighborhoods of Moore. Watching the live news coverage, we all could tell that this storm changed many lives forever.

As the fury passed by the totality of the destruction suddenly became clear. Schools, filled with children and teachers, were destroyed. Cars, many passively sitting in parking lots, were thrown into buildings. Neighborhoods, once populated with hundreds of homes, were leveled. Sheets of metal were twisted around trees stripped of all their leaves. Twenty-four lives were lost.

In this dark moment though, the Oklahoma spirit was rekindled. In this time when the world was focused on another Oklahoma tragedy, the world saw the Oklahoma spirit rise. It’s not a surprise, and it’s nothing new…for we’ve seen more than our share of tragedy. But this pain has only made us stronger, more resilient, more committed to building a better life right here on this grand land.

Just as the strongest steel comes from the hottest fire, the strongest people arise from the deepest pain.

It’s that strength that lets us get up when we get knocked down, that lets us keep moving forward when we think another step is impossible, that lets us keep hoping for a better tomorrow when all hope seems lost. We are strong. We are resilient. We are hopeful.

We are a people who came to this state with little but big hopes and audacious dreams eager to claim a piece of land and build a life for our children. We are a people who have seen the winds sweep away our soil and our livelihoods, but never our hope. We are a people who have seen our two most famous early Oklahomans die in a single fateful plane crash. We are a people who have seen first-hand the horrors of domestic terrorism and senseless violence. And we are a people who have been battered by more than a century of deadly tornadoes.

Because we’ve been through so much, we are a people who get perturbed when those on our nation’s coasts look down their noses at us. We are a people who get irritated when others tell us how we should live, or what we should believe. We are a people who cringe when others see our waving wheat fields as only flyover country.

We know that we are not perfect, but we are good, we are compassionate and we are giving. It is this spirit which led the teachers at Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary this week to use their bodies to shield students from tornado debris. It was this spirit that enabled law enforcement officers to stand in the way of the oncoming tornado to divert traffic from the storm’s path. It was this spirit that compelled Oklahomans around the globe to rush to the aid of their friends and neighbors.

In times of tragedy like we saw last Monday, it is this Oklahoma spirit that lifts us up and carries us forward.

We will never forget what we’ve lost. We will never forget the pain we endure. But this week reminded the world that regardless of what tragedies befall us, regardless of how dark our days get, Oklahomans will endure.

That we will eventually be OK.

For we know, better than most, that at the end of this storm the sun will shine on us again.

MICKEY HEPNER is the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma. Hepner serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for The Oklahoma Academy.

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  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
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