Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Sobering Sight - Oklahoma City National Memorial

We have just bused to the hotel from our concert at the University of Oklahoma. It's 11:00 at night and still 95 degrees outside. There is a place we need to see before we leave tomorrow morning. 

Randy, Audrey, Lauren, and I walk the five blocks downtown to the Oklahoma City National Memorial created in honor of those who were killed by the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building there. It is an incredible and touching sight - especially at night. (We failed to bring a camera, so I found these pictures on their website.) I need to remember this place. 

The Gates of Time
We enter through the Gates of Time. 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 lives were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.

"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."

The Survivor Tree
The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. 

Reflecting Pool

The pool, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. 

Field of Empty Chairs

The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children.

As I look at the chairs, especially the little ones representing the children, each one illuminated with its own light, I find myself fighting the tears. Each one of these chairs represents someone loved, someone missed, someone's child, mother or father...

We return to the hotel a little more tender, thoughtful, grateful... 

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