April 19, 1995. The day that forever changed Oklahoma. We became a ball of fear, caution and grief. But at the same time we turned to each other for comfort. We leaned more on our faith. Hugged our children tighter. Loved our neighbors more. Oklahoma was on display for the world. That same world embraced us and became a smaller place. The Chapel ~ A place for prayer and reflection.Field of Empty Chairs~ 168 chairs symbolize each life lost. The smaller chairs represent the 19 children.The Survivor Tree~ a 90-year-old American Elm that was witness to the violence of April 19.“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”
May we never forget ♥
Paula, this is beautiful, what a moving tribute to such a horrific day in our human history. I remember that day so clearly, it’s an odd pairing, my mom had had a big procedure done that day, some experimental process for the cancer she was battling. We watched the horror of the events of that day unfold as we sat in the waiting room in the hospital and that day is forever etched in my mind, for so many reasons, and the lives lost, senselessly that day, continue to break my heart. The field of empty chairs, is beautiful, breathtaking and moving. Thank you for such a moving tribute. xo
When I reflect on that day, it is almost like reliving it. My boys and I were headed downtown that morning to hear the Oklahoma Symphony. They were doing a special performance for the children. This is one time I am so grateful that we were not early. I could go on & on….but I’ll spare you! Interesting how when tragedy strikes, we all freeze that moment in our head. ♥
You can go on and on with me, no need to spare. I can’t quite fathom being right there, and having to somehow interpret that for your children, with emotion so raw. I am so grateful you were not early also. You put it well, the moment does freeze in our minds, and hearts. ♥
You know how things make such an impact on you but you cannot explain why? I remember that day so well – I had bought myself a pet hamster that afternoon and named him Okie. This was the event that turned me into a person with questions. I expect others to turn on us, but never one of our own. I wanted to know why. The OKC bombing happened when I was 19 and living in Maryland and I never once in my life thought I would live in Oklahoma City one day.
When I came out to visit my then-boyfriend/now-husband last Thanksgiving, this was the one place I needed to see before I headed back to Florida. It was cold all week, but that day I visited it got to 70 and it was sunny. I was so grateful, for a lot of reasons that day.
Wow….just a week after the bombing, I flew to Baltimore. People would ask where I was from and their next sentence would be, “I’m so sorry for your city.” Such compassion. We walked this area after it happened with our “then” little boys. We couldn’t explain “Why” to them because we didn’t understand either. The smell of death is one you never forget. We each learned to process it in our own way, I guess. Healing comes in strange ways, doesn’t it?
Paula…thank you so much for sharing this time in Oklahoma City with those of us who will probably not ever get to visit this beautiful memorial. I can imagine you felt the flap of angel’s wings as you viewed all those empty chairs.
It is sacred ground, Delores. If you have ever visited The Wall in D.C…..it is a similar feeling. Quiet sorrow. ♥
I went the roundabout way to get here. Beautiful as usual. I remember when this happened and how paralyzed I was. I just stood in front of the tv for hours/days. I was a photojournalist then, but I refused to join the media circus just to get that shot. This is the fundamental reason I hate news/media because how vulture like they become when a big story hits no matter who it hurts.
Years later, I did a special memorial section in our paper and was granted a private tour and was allowed to photograph areas that the public doesn’t get to see. It was humbling, heart-wrenching and caused much sadness.
Well done and thanks for never letting us forget. Especially since on the anniversary of 9/11 our country fell under attack again.
I too remember where I was and what I was doing that horrible day, as I believe we all will for our lifetimes. I have been fortunate to walk through the memorial several times and it never fails to move me. I love that, when asked what new members of the OKC Thunder are told about OKC, Scott Brooks’ response is “we take them to the Oklahoma City Memorial”. What more do they need to know? Thank you for yet another amazingly beautiful pictorial!
Thanks, Christi……and I did not know that about Scott Brooks. There is much to learn and just “feel” in this place ♥
I think this is one of the most profound places that I have visited. You post gave me the same chills I got the first time I walked through it.
It is hard to describe how you feel when there. Sorrow and reverence. But then, you know that ♥
As we walked thru the memorial,we struck up a conversation with a “newly minted” National Parks ranger, fresh on her first assignment. I ask her why she had become a park ranger. She told us this was not her first pick and that she would rather be in a larger, “wilder” park, more suited for her training. Someplace where there was more action. I reminded her that it was a great honor to be the guardian of this hallowed ground. I reminded her of what this place meant to the world, and especially to Oklahomans. The best assignments are not “where the action is”, but in simply watching over one very special place. A place that reminds us of the frailty of human life, and and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of evil. What an honor to have this assignment. I would like to think that her perspective was changed. I suspect that time spent in this honored place will certainly change it!
I had forgotten about that conversation, and I have her photo filed away. I agree. I hope you struck a chord with this young lady from Missouri. I don’t know how this could just be a “job”. ♥
It looks like a beautiful and peaceful place…
That it is….the disappointing part was that the reflective pond had been drained for upkeep….I will catch that next time. It still did not take away from reflecting!
Indeed it is a very special place!
A lovely tribute post, Paula. I remember hearing the reports on our South African radio news that day. It was so horrifying to me that this could happen. Such memorials are really important to keep the memory of those lost loved ones alive in everyone’s hearts.
Thank you….It had been a while since we had visited and it was interesting how quickly all the details of the day and time rushed back into our minds. A sad time, but so proud of how Oklahoma stayed strong with the help of so many ♥
always an okie ♥♥♥
for sure ♥