Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Oklahoma City National Memorial (Okla.)--Public opinion; Memorials--Oklahoma--Oklahoma City--Public opinion; Memorialization;


The Midwest faced its most significant domestic terror attack on April 19th, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. This attack is etched in public memory and shapes the values and beliefs of communities and cultures. From this attack, the Oklahoma City National Memorial arose through the communities that joined together to commemorate the losses sustained in the attack. The circulation of information surrounding memorial spaces entails not only discourse regarding the physical space but also photographs and other visual and digital artifacts expressing the impact an event and memorial space has on publics. My argument situates the development of the Oklahoma City National Memorial space and assesses the leadership and onus communities place on tragedies.

I argue the rhetorical implications of the circulation of visual artifacts from this attack. Further, my assessment of the broader impact local crises have on larger communities situates the affective properties of public place and space. An examination of absences at the space addresses underlying national cultural and social unrest that is seen as a component for the imputes of McVeigh’s attack. Throughout this argument, I examine the political and societal influence of memorial spaces as a means to examine visual artifacts for their impact on contemporary society and culture. Influencing visitors and eliciting an affect is an emotional effort conducted through the structure of the physical spaces. Considering these elements and drawing them together develops my concern for the remembering, and forgetting, that occurs within public memory. My argument concludes with a suggestion questioning whether the public is enacting change based on these specific events or if the memorial space acts as tools to allow social and cultural flaws to be excused.

Year of Submission



Department of Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

David Grant

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 77 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download