Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Oklahoma Chronicles - Part 4

I took my sister to see the Oklahoma National Memorial in Oklahoma City, the site of the Murrah Building bombing . Just two weeks after the bombing, I was in OKC on business and decided to see if I could find the building. Of course the immediate area was fenced off and I had to park a couple blocks away. The building was not in view, I still hadn't seen it. I'll never forget walking down the street and turning a corner. I was slammed. Pictures on tv and in the papers can't convey the reality of such horror.
  Where devastation stood is now a place of solemn beauty. It has to be the most symbolically rich memorial in the nation.The Gates of Time stand guard at either end of the street which ran in front of the building. On one is inscribed "9:01" The other is inscribed "9:03". They denote the time between innocence and the end of it on April 19, 1995.

In between the gates, where the street ran in front of the building, is a black reflecting pool

The most haunting thing of all is The Field of Empty Chairs; 168 "floating" chairs on the grassy lawn where the building itself stood. At night, the bases are lit.

Each chair represents a person who died in the bombing. They're arranged in rows according to which floor the person was on. The saddest of all are the little chairs. They represent children.

It's a very moving place. Across the street is a church, and a statue of Jesus, his back to the memorial. At his feet is a simple inscription, the shortest verse in the Bible: "And Jesus wept."

There's a huge American Elm, known as The Survivor's Tree. It lived through the blast and still thrives. Now surrounded by a courtyard inscribed "The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."

A lot of good information can be found at the Memorial's website:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your pictures and words are OUTSTANDING. Everyone should look at your pictures, read what you wrote and remember.