It was sunny, today, Tuesday, Jan 4th, here in Oklahoma City, low in the mid-20’s and high in the upper 40’s. Ken was not feeling his best so we took our time around the rig. Ken hooked up do fill water and dump tanks since even though we are at full hook up site, he didn’t want to risk staying hooked up with the cold weather.
After lunch at the rig, we hopped in the jeep and drove over to the Bass Bro Shop where we were picked up on the free city trolley.
Our destination was the Alfred P Morrow Building and Memorial Museum.
The plaza is pretty much in tact as it was before the federal building.
There is a lot of construction going on around the site so sort of by default this is where we started at the Memorial overlook.
To the right you see our shadows as we took in the sombering view of the field of empty chairs. Each of the 168 chairs represents a life lost on April 19, 1995. The are organized in nine rows, one for each of the floors of the building, placed according to the floor on which the person was working or visiting when killed that day.
The picture on the left was taken looking through the 9:01 gate, 9:01 being the minute before the bomb went off. In the distance you see the 9:03 gate, the minute after the bomb went off. In the middle is the reflection pool, symbolic of the time when we forever changed by this horrendous event.
Much of what you see at his memorial is symbolic. For example, the survivor tree below, a 90+ year old American Elm, still contains the embedded shrapnel of the bomb that detonated nearby and stands as a symbol of resilience. The plaza that circles it now contains this engraved message: “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us”.
We spent several hours in the Memorial Museum which walks you through the tragedy on a very personal level through the sites and sounds and personal stories of that day. Seeing the toys those children played with in that day care center….hearing their parents tell there first reactions…following the story from that morning until the years that followed and what the victim’s families and survivors went through. The crushed filing cabinets, the broken coffee cups, the keys and the purses and the shoes… all that was left from the start to a normal day at work. Hearing the stories of the seconds and minutes after and how those inside saw and felt. Seeing how the rescuers acted and reacted. It has considerable impact. I didn’t take a lot of pictures in the museum. I guess I was just too engrossed in the experience.
It caused Ken and I to reflect the strange experience one goes through during disasters, like when we worked during our local floods in Quincy. Then, we had a heightened sense of ‘just doing it’ whatever it was to try to fix things and that was when we were working to save livelihoods and homes, not so much lives. I can’t even fathom what it was to experience April 19th, 2005, in Oklahoma City when you knew their were so many lives at stake.
The words below, which are sort of a mission statement for the memorial are a fitting ‘says it all’":
When we left the memorial we picked up the trolley again and had them drop off at the corner by the Bricktown Brewery. I had heard they had half price appetizers and home brews from 4-7. Unfortunately they had quit doing the appetizers but we still really enjoyed sampling their house brews. Ken had their Copperhead amber ale and I had the current bourbon barrel sweet stout they had on tap. Both were excellent and I’m not a beer drinker!
Rather than a meal, we did an appetizer of loaded nachos followed by French Onion Soup. Both very good and we decided their was no need for a main entree after. We got to know the gentlemen at the next table a bit better and then decided to stroll the 6 blocks back to the jeep in the Bass Pro parking lot.
We leave you with a picture looking down on the Bricktown Riverwalk which we followed on our way back to our vehicle.