Thursday, May 28, 2015 – The first stop on today’s adventure was at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial in Oklahoma City where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed on April 19, 1995. I’ve copied information from their website about the various areas at the memorial and added my pictures to each section.
I personally was overwhelmed at the emotions I felt walking through the area, seeing each of the individual memorials and the hundreds of remembrances left on the fence. The reflection pool being where the building originally was and the symbolism of the two gates – one 9:01 and the other 9:03. I hope the descriptions below will help you get some tiny idea of what an important and well done memorial this is. It was a very reverent place. No one was yelling or running around and it shows the true respect visitors here have for those who lost their lives in this horrible terrorist attack.
The stones we walked on around the reflection pool were recovered from the building.
Gates of Time
These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. 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 we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.
The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.
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. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.
On the east end of the Memorial stand the only remaining walls from the Murrah Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the terrorist attack, many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby.
The Survivor Tree
The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.
Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.
In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings — an important component of the healing process.
The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.
We did not go to the Memorial Museum which is an interactive learning experience that takes you on a chronological self-guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and years that followed the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The story tracks the remarkable journey of loss, resilience, justice and hope.
After taking so many pictures today and wanting to share so many of them with ya’ll I decided to break up what we saw today into two posts. Tomorrow I will share with you the amazing Myriad Gardens and Observatory that are just a few blocks from the memorial in downtown Oklahoma City.
We’ll leave here early in the morning headed to Halstead, Kansas (outside of Wichita) in the morning for more adventure and fun.
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
Click on the links below to go there!
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