This picture depicts the open space where once stood the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Only the staircases and some hardened walls remain of the original structure. At the left in the photo is St Joseph's Cathedral, and in the background the Regency Towers, many of whose windows were blown out during the bombing. Designs for the National Memorial were chosen by a committee comprised of family members, survivors, rescuers, civil leaders and design professionals.
The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
Before there was the World Trade Center disaster, there was the Oklahoma City disaster. Come see how the community responded to this bastardly act, and you will lose any doubt that America will never be deterred by terrorism; not now, not ever.
A heart-wrenching and deeply symbolic memorial that (ironically and sadly) brings more tourists to OKC than the other attractions. The grounds take some explaining, but when one realizes what each thing means, it becomes clear and beautiful. Two large walls stand at either end, one with a minute before the explosion inscribed in it, the other with the minute after, symbolizing a frozen minute between the two, a time that should never existed and is now replaced with verdant gardens and scenic walkways. It has 132 stone chairs on a lawn, each symbolizing a person who died that day, the smaller ones representing the children. They are lit from beneath and seem to float when seen at night. Other symbolic icons can be found around the memorial, from the 'Survival Tree,' the one tree to survive the explosion despite the fact that it was imbedded with debris, a statue of Jesus turned away from the site and weeping and the orten-photographed memorial fence, which once surrounded the remains of the Murrah Building and had been adorned with cards, stuffed animals and flowers. The site is worth going to for reflection.
The whole planeful of people was shipped to the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City and our room and board were paid by United. I was on the same flight as my CEO so he and I quickly made plans to rent a car to drive back to SFO (24 hours non-stop). However as we started calling the rental car companies we were told there was no car available to be taken out of the state. After a few tries we gave up and it dawned upon us that we had no idea when we would return home.
We decided to make the best of it, and hired a taxi to take us around the city itself. Here we dropped by the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. Site of another terrorist activity.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is dedicated to the 168 people killed in the terrorist bombing of the federal building that once stood where this reflecting pool now is. Be sure to get a brochure that explains all about the signifigance of the rows of chairs, the reflecting pool, the times on the entry ways either side of the pool, and the survivor tree. I strongly recommend visiting the Memorial but I'll tell you up front it is not a cheerful place.
The museum is very nice and I am glad I went there but it is also terribly sad. I got about 3/4's of the way through the museum looking at the exhibits and watching video tape interviews with rescue teams, doctors, and survivors when I just had to leave.
This memorial is dedicated to the 168 people who died in 1995 after the Federal Building in OKC was bombed by right wing extremist.
Walking through here on the way to the start line of the marathon, with "How Great Is Our God" being played by a live band. Powerful start
Many of the innocent victims of the explosion were children. The construction fence was left in place, lined with their toys. It is a very powerful memorial to them.
This was taken at the beginning of the Memorial Construction.
See The Memorial Construction Travelogue