On our recent trip to Oklahoma for my grandfather's funeral, we decided to visit the Oklahoma City Memorial.  I had visited the outside, but not the inside.  I don't believe they allow pictures inside; even if they did, I think it would be disrespectful.

I was actually living in Oklahoma at the time of the bombing.  I remember my mom watching the t.v. in horror as her hometown (and my birthplace) suffered an unprecedented tragedy.  If you are not familiar with the OKC bombing, this is from Wikipedia.org:

"The Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, carried out by American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh with the assistance of Terry Nichols, destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was the most significant act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11 attacks in 2001, claiming the lives of 168 victims and injuring more than 680. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen–block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage."

There were children in the building, as the Federal building had a daycare inside of it.  The Memorial is one of the most touching, heart-wrenching, peaceful, beautiful memorials I have visited.  The designers really did do a beautiful job. 

9:01 a.m.:  Innocence

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9:02 a.m.:  The bomb inside the truck exploded, taking out more than a third of the Federal building.

9:03 a.m.:  The "moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing."
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Above:  The reflecting pool.
Below:  The Field of Empty Chairs.  The chairs reflect the 168 lives that were lost.  Each bears the name of a person.  The smaller chairs represent the children that died.
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Below:  The Survivor Tree, an American Elm that withstood the astounding brutality of the explosion.  The tree is revered and continues to thrive to this day as a representation that life does indeed go on. 
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To the innocent people who lost their lives, to their family, their friends, their coworkers; to the brave volunteers and rescue workers who risked life and limb in order to locate every missing person; to the courageous rescue dogs, including many Labrador retrievers who suffered burns, cut paws, and smoke inhalation, but served as tireless workers in the scope of the tragedy:  I'm so, so sorry. 

If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to the Memorial. 
For more information:  Oklahoma City National Memorial

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."
 


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