Memorial Flag Finds New Home

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Memorial Flag Finds New Home

By Mindy Ragan Wood

A flag bearing the names of every U.S. victim of terrorism between 1970 and 2004 has found a new home.

The flag has been housed in the former office of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), but will have to be moved after the organization’s funding was cut last year. The Oklahoma City University School of Law will display the memorial in its new national security and intelligence center, which opened in downtown Oklahoma City last week.

The flag was created in response to the 9/11 tragedy. Designed by Elizabeth Barnes, the 60-foot-by-30-foot flag was completed in part due to volunteers from all over the world who stitched each name. It travelled throughout the country on display for several years before being hung on the ceiling in the training room of the MIPT’s offices at 621 N Robinson.

David Cid, MIPT’s former executive director, said he tried to find a home for it among the acquisitions in New York and even the Smithsonian Institute.

“The 9/11 Memorial acquisitions staff first said they would accept, but months later told me they wouldn’t take it. I tried the Smithsonian, but they said it would take two years to do an acquisition. So we left it in place and I continued to look for a new home.”

It’s not a simple task to remove the flag on the ceiling of its current location. Because the new offices will be fitted as a business conference complex, it can’t stay where it is.

“You can’t get a forklift in there, so you have to put up scaffolding. You have to take the flag down, then the structure that holds the flag in a certain configuration,” said Cid.

The estimated cost to remove and transport the flag is as much as $20,000.

Cid was relieved when Josh Snavely, an assistant dean for the Oklahoma City University School of Law contacted him.

“They had some money, endowments specifically for art preservation and wanted to know if they could take the flag and put it up in the national security law center. So it’s going to go there,” he said.

Cid is no stranger to counter terrorism. He is a retired FBI agent who specialized in counter terrorism in Minnesota, at FBI headquarters, and finally in Oklahoma. Cid was an integral part of the MIPT, an organization founded in response to the 1995 Murrah Building bombing. MIPT trained more than 25,000 police officers nationally in terrorism prevention before losing its funding last year.

“We had a budget of $2 million and did $10 million worth of work,” said Cid.

He remains a driving force in the prevention of terrorism through education. Cid is the director of the Homeland Security Institute at Rose State College and wrote courses for the program.

“The courses I wrote deal with analysis, intelligence, operations, and everything you need to know to prevent terrorism in a constitutional democracy. Rose State College created the program in response to the need for homeland security professionals to get a formal education,” he said.

A date has not been set for flag’s removal and it is unknown when it will be available for viewing. For more information, contact the Oklahoma City University School of Law at 405-208-5337

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