Sunday, September 25, 2011

April 19, 1995

Later Saturday afternoon we went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The museum takes you on a chronological self guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995 and the days, weeks & years that followed the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. I was only 9 years old when it happened so I briefly remember what had happened. If you were to ask me about it I couldn’t tell you a thing, Until now that is. Walking through the museum the story of April 19, 95 was told detail by detail, showing news clips and stories from survivors. Articles of clothing, office supplies, children’s play things, building pieces and much more filled the walls & room of the museum. It’s amazing what people will do these days & not even think in the long run how its going to effect others & their families let alone themselves & their families. There were 168 lives lost that day ranging from young children to mothers, fathers and grandparents. Innocent people who were just going on about their normal routine lost their lives that morning.

1~ We Will Never Forget
2~ A message from New York to the people of Oklahoma.
3~ A billboard along a Georgia highway reminding passers of the tragedy.
4~ A message spray-painted on the south wall of the Journal Record Building.
5~ A flag @ half-mast flies over the plaza at Rockefeller Center NYC.
6~ A bucket of roses & a message for rescue workers on the scene of the Murrah Building.
7~ A stream of automobile headlights - during the daylight hours in a poignant reminder that Oklahoma City is a city in mourning.

The Gates of Time, two monumental gates frame the moment of destruction - 9:02 a.m. - and mark the formal entrance to the memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment things were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following.

Walking around the Reflecting Pool which now sits were NW Fifth street was. It is a shallow depth of gently flowing water that helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts.

The Field of Empty Chairs, Each of the 168 chairs symbolize a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed. Arranged in nine rows, one for each of the nine floors of the building, they are placed according to the floor on which those killed were working or visiting. Each bronze and stone chair rests on a glass base etched with the name of a victim.
The field’s perimeter matches the footprint of the former Murrah Building. It is lined by a granite path that was salvaged from the Murrah Plaza.

The Survivor Tree a 90 + year old American Elm, bears witness to the violence of April 19 and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience. “The spirit of the city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

The Fence the first fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the fence. Those items now total more than 60,000. Many of those are preserved in the museums archives & many are used for educational projects. Today, more than 200 feet of the original fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.

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