Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Return to a Tragic Day

So I usually visit my hometown of Oklahoma City, where I grew up, at least once a year since I moved out here to California.  And every few years, I find myself drawn to visit the OKC National Memorial in downtown, which honors the victims, survivors & rescuers of a tragic day for all of Oklahoma.  I will never forget the exact minute when a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, twenty-three years ago, at this very moment.  I was 12, and home sick (alone), suffering from a blister on my eardrum, and I can still feel that slight shake of my house, and hear the frantic barking of my pup outside, immediately afterwards.

Anyway, the day before Christmas in 2016, we visited the memorial again, and the experience was just as poignant and brutally heartbreaking as it always is.  Here are my photos from that day.

Supplemental information, via Wikipedia, on the specific features of the Memorial: found here.  This will help to enlighten you on the symbolism of some of the pictures I took.

The "entrance" to the memorial, as well as the museum, housed in the former Journal Record Building.

A collage of hand-painted tiles from kids that sent them in from all over the United States & Canada, showing their support, shortly after the bombing.  These kids are all grown up nowadays.

More of the tiled collage, on the other side.

View of the former Journal Record building, looking back from the Reflecting Pool.
This is known as one of the "Gates of Time" along with its twin on the other side of the memorial, representing the first moments of recovery, while the other says "9:01," representing the last moment of peace before the bomb hit at 9:02am.  The Gates frame the moment of destruction.

Since it was Christmastime when we visited, family members had come to decorate the empty chairs of their loved ones who had perished on that day.

Overlooking the "Survivor Tree" from the field of empty chairs.

Macro view of the small wall that surrounds the Survivor Tree.  The full inscriptions says: "The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."

Overlooking the field of empty chairs, from the original plaza area, which is part of the only remaining remnants from the building.

Found among the Plaza, the motto for the United States, Latin for "Out of many, one."

There wasn't anything specifically important about this, other than I liked how they implemented the Survivor Tree into the design of the bench.  (This is actually a bus stop.) 

Part of the Memorial Fence, originally used to protect the site from damage, before the memorial was built.  I liked this view of someone's Run to Remember medal left on the fence.

Apparently people from all over the world still leave small items on the Fence, as seen by this keychain of Australia!

"And Jesus Wept" memorial sculpture, erected by St. Joseph's Catholic Church, located across from the OKC Memorial.  Jesus faces away from the devastation, and the wall in front of him has 168 gaps in it, representing the voids left by each life lost.

There is always an incredibly somber and quiet atmosphere to the Memorial, every time that I've visited.  It reminds me that life is short and nobody is promised tomorrow, so you have to make sure to make today count.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know what you think! I love feedback.

Back to Top