We decided to spend an extra day in Oklahoma City. One of the places we wanted to visit was the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
On the eve of September 11, it seemed appropriate to visit this memorial and remember the 168 victims of the Alfred P Murrah Building bombing. The memorial is so beautifully done , and the museum provides an immersive, interactive experience chronicling the morning the bomb was detonated and the aftermath. It tells the stories of victims, families, and first responders before, during and after the event.
The last area of the museum is a memorial with photos of each of the 168 victims, women, children, men, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, friends, brothers, sisters, doctors, nurses; they belonged to many, to all of us, and it is important that we remember them. Each have a photo and some items that reflect their unique likes or passion. These words are on the building:
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.
Walking from the museum building, you have a view of the park. You first walk through the Rescuers Orchard. This recognizes all the first responders and rescuers, and the trees surround and protect the Survivor Tree.
The Survivor tree is an American elm tree that withstood the day of the blast (Read more about the memorial here, and see photos of the tree after the bombing).
In the center is the reflecting pool, which is where N.W. Fifth street was located in front of the building, and where the truck was parked and the explosion originated.
On each end of the pool are the Gates of Time: one reads 9:01, the other 9:03, framing the moment the bomb went off.
The Field of Empty Chairs is the footprint of the Murrah Building, and there are 168 chairs, one for each victim.
From this angle you can see some chairs that are shorter, these are for the children who were killed in the bombing.
At one end of the field is a section of the actual building, and names of survivors.
Notes, and momentos are left on The Fence; originally put up to protect the area.
It does not seem possible to visit this museum and memorial, and not be deeply moved. It is a reminder that we must remember, we must keep remembering those whom we lost and those who have done so much and suffered so much.
After our visit, we enjoyed a lunch in the Bricktown Section of the city. We then made one last stop, highly recommended by our friends (Thanks Barbe and Thom!!!) and it was breathtaking! The Centennial Land Run Monument commemorates the 1889 Land Run. The size and detail were stunning.
As we prepare to leave Oklahoma City, we feel a deeper appreciation for what we have learned about some of the history of Oklahoma.
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.Martin Luther King Jr.
Thanks Oklahoma City, we won’t say goodbye, but see you Sooners.
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