Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oklahoma City Memorial

April 19th was the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Federal building bombing in 1995. I am usually not one to dwell endlessly on funerals, memorials, and tragedies, but I thought as an American, today’s event was appropriate and meaningful. Though the time seems to have passed so quickly since this tragedy, I am sure the victim’s families wish they could distance themselves even further from those horrific memories.

I had the opportunity to visit the Memorial and museum about a year ago. I was quite impressed with the beauty of the site and the quality of the exhibits. In particular, I liked that they left a brick wall with original fire escapes and windows that were damaged and burned from the neighboring blast. I also liked that they have flat slate stones in front of the museum with a bucket of sidewalk chalk. You can put any personal sentiment you like on the stone in the multicolored chalk and enjoy reading other visitor’s thoughts and illustrations.

To this day, even 15 years later, a fence that borders the property is covered with flowers, buttons, personal items, and notes from friends, families, and visitors to the memorial. It is touching to walk among the 168 chairs representing the victims – large chairs for the adults, and the smaller chairs representing the children. Even if you have no direct connection to the victims, I think the reverence and respect by your fellow Americans and your National Park taxes will surely make you proud.

So if you ever find yourself in need of something more than a good steak while you are visiting Oklahoma City, plan on dedicating at least a couple of hours to the Memorial. I have linked the National Memorial web site here to the virtual tour page which will give you a better idea of the overall park. Do yourself and family a favor, don’t distance yourself from the Memorial and allow another 15 years to pass before visiting this living piece of history. It’s the American thing to do.

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