The Oklahoma Standard...

The Oklahoma Standard, where did that phrase come from? 

We Oklahomans are a resilient lot coming from ancestors who hunted the buffalo, scratched out a living on sub-par soil and braved the Dust Bowl and Depression years. Grandparents and parents who fought in wars and carried on trying to give their children the best they could give.  We are born with red dirt under our fingernails, grit in our veins and nerves of steel to stare down a tornado and come out the other side stronger than before. Why else would we stand out in a parking lot filming an EF5 tornado bearing down on us with our cell phone?

Photo Courtesy of Steven Paul Judd
The Oklahoma Standard was coined from the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma CityBombing.  We as a people came together to do whatever it took to rescue injured children and adults who were trapped, recover those who were lost, feed and house rescue workers, care for search dogs, who worked long hours to find the victims of that terrible day.  We are a people who stood in line for hours and hours over several days to give blood.  Businesses donated food, water, anything that was needed, it was provided, no questions asked.  We as a people proved to a nation that was stunned at our grit, that we would not be defeated in this, our most terrible hour.  We did not have one case of looting.

Jump forward four years, May 3rd, 1999 around 5:45p.m., a tornado categorized as an EF5 on the Fujita scale hit the city of Moore, OK and for 32 miles wiped out everything in its path. The Weather men were not saying this was a tornado warning but a “tornado emergency to seek shelter underground.” After it passed The Oklahoma Standard kicked in immediately and once more we came together giving blood, helping rescue people, providing food, clothing, shelter, comfort and counseling.

Four years later on May 5th another tornado hit the same area of the May 3rd tornado although not as devastating as the May 3rd tornado it did a tremendous amount of damage. Again we came together and rebuilt.

Tornado in cloud that dropped east of Norman
This past Sunday a tornado set down east of Norman by Lake Thunderbird and roared its way over to just outside of Shawnee, OK, doing tremendous damage and killing several people. We started coming together to help those affected when Monday at 3:10 in the afternoon another EF5 tornado hit almost along the same path taken by the May 3rd tornado 14 years earlier. This tornado
Courtesy of Fox 25 News
tracked for 22 miles but was far more destructive with 210+mph winds. For the second time in central Oklahoma’s history the weatherman said this was ”a tornado emergency and to get underground.” We watched on our TV’s, iPhones and Android phones the devastation taking place and knew that once again The Oklahoma Standard would immediately kicked in, it’s what we do here.   

Blood donations,
Photo courtesy of Nicole Harris

food, shelter, rescue workers, chain saws, shoves, rakes, pet rescues, donations of all sorts, people in general helping one another without race, religion, creed or politics getting in the way.  This time we did have two looters who did not understand The Oklahoma Standard.  They are now in jail.

We hugged, cried, comforted and then carried on knowing what had to be done.  Saying a prayer, shedding a tear for those lost, those found, those who were still missing, hugging our children and grandchildren, rolling up our sleeves and pitching in whether we know who we are helping or not, it does not matter.

It’s going to take a long time for people to recover, but recover they will.  It’s The Oklahoma Standard.  
                                        We are after all…Oklahomans!
God Bless...


  1. Oklahomans are a tough breed. My thoughts are with all of you.

  2. Excellent article ! America's Heartland rocks ! Makes me proud to have been born in Norman, Oklahoma, thought I now live in Norman, Arkansas.

  3. Anonymous5/25/2013

    God bess you, Dear Friend. Very meaningful.

  4. Great blog. Each event you mentioned was very scary and heartbreaking.

  5. Great post, Susie. So glad you two are ok after all that went on around you. It was a gut wrenching couple of days, following the weather out your way. Oklahomana certainly have a ton of grit in their blood to be able to live in such a place. Scary indeed ! Hugs to you both.


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