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Memorializing Crisis: The Oklahoma City National Memorial as Renewal Discourse

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Memorials are erected to signify important people, places, and events in history. Often times, the landmarks pay homage to lives lost and locations where devastation occurred. This study analyzes the Oklahoma City National Memorial as an exemplar for how memorials, through the shared experience of grief, communicate renewal. A discussion of memorials as rhetorical artifacts is provided, the evolving literature on renewal is presented, and the mission statement and seven themes embodied in the features of the Oklahoma City National Memorial are analyzed. Ultimately, this analysis establishes that a prospective vision is essential in the memorializing process. Emphasizing shared values, finding optimism, and providing opportunities for learning are identified as practical steps toward achieving a prospective outlook.

Keywords: Crisis Communication; Memorial; Organizational Learning; Renewal

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2011.557390

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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