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“9/11: Never Forget” Exhibit Commemorated with Ceremony at the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum National, State and Local Leaders Delivered Remembrance Speeches at Opening
(HOBART, Okla.) – The General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum opened its new permanent exhibit, “9/11: Never Forget,” with a special commemoration ceremony on Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the 2001 World Trade Center attack. More than 500 visitors were in attendance to experience the ceremony and exhibit opening.
The event commenced at noon on the Hobart courthouse square with a complimentary lunch and was followed by a remembrance program at 1 p.m. in the Stanley Building.
The ceremony began with opening remarks from the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum Executive Director D’Lese Travis and was emceed by KFOR-Television’s Kevin Ogle. Ceremony attendees enjoyed reflections from General Tommy Franks and his wife, Cathryn Franks, Oklahoma Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Shultz, former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh, Altus Air Force Base Commander Col. Todd Hohn, New York City firefighter Bill O’Keefe, Sandridge Energy CEO and President James Bennett, Musco Lighting owner Joe Crookham and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Live entertainment was provided throughout the grand opening event by the Fort Sill 77th Army Band. The event also featured tours of the Museum Mobile Classroom and Road Show. In addition, event visitors were able to view the Musco Lighting truck, which was mobilized to aid recovery efforts immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, providing essential lighting to first responders at ground zero.
Following the program, the exhibit was officially opened to the public for viewing at the Museum.
“The General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum is honored to have hosted an array of distinguished speakers for our symbolic exhibition grand opening,” said General Tommy Franks. “In addition, we are thrilled that so many joined us in Hobart to experience the remembrance ceremony and grand opening event. The “9/11: Never Forget” exhibit is a tangible reminder of the impact of Sept. 11, 2001 and we hope to share this educational opportunity with all Americans by illustrating a view of the world before 9/11 and the continuing significance of 9/11 today.”
The exhibit is designed to place visitors into the day of the attacks in New York City and give them an opportunity to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 men, women and children from 93 nations who perished that day. Visitors entering the exhibit first encounter a video message from former President George W. Bush commemorating General Franks’ service. The centerpiece of the exhibit showcases a 14-foot-long, 3,000-lb. steel I-beam from the World Trade Center. Visitors will view an authentic fireman’s suit worn by New York City fireman John Walters and see video of former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card alerting President Bush about the terrorist attacks. The exhibit also features seats from a commercial airliner to set the stage for visitors as a passenger on Flight 93. Areas of the exhibit are also dedicated to the Pentagon and our nation’s response featuring President Bush’s address, vowing that America, its friends and allies would “stand together and win the war against terrorism.”
The new exhibit also showcases suits and other articles of clothing worn and donated by key leaders following Sept. 11, 2001, including the neck tie Andrew Card was wearing the morning of 9/11 when he famously whispered in President Bush’s ear, “America is under attack.”
Admission to the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum is free. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. For more information on the exhibit, or to learn more about the Museum, please visit TommyFranksMuseum.org.
The General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum was created as a historical foundation dedicated to telling the story of the United States military and education. Its mission is to advance the understanding of historical events, encourage leadership development and inspire enlightened decision-making by providing a forum for critical thinking through scholarly research, exhibits and public programs. For more information, visit TommyFranksMuseum.org.