Monday, April 18, 2005

Oklahoma City bombing anniversary Tuesday

One thing about living in central Oklahoma is that in addition to national media coverage of anniversaries of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, you get the local coverage. In 1995 we were living in California, but dear husband was actually on a five-week work-related visit to northern Oklahoma at the time of the OKC bombing. That's when I got clear on how far apart the Enid area and OKC are :)

By the time of the five-year anniversary in 2000 we had been here in central Oklahoma nearly a year, and the local coverage was spectacular and moving. Live coverage at the bombing memorial began with (at an extremely discreet distance, if I recall correctly) the private commemorations at the site early in the morning, and continued through the day, covering events at the site, special features, and so on. There's nothing quite like the local news anchors giving personal recollections of exactly where they were at the moment the bomb detonated.

Both with and without out-of-town visitors we've visited the bombing memorial on beautiful spring days, hot summer afternoons, and bitterly cold winter days with dreary skies, drifting flurries of snowflakes, and the reflecting pond glazed with ice. We've walked along the chain-link fence overflowing with mementoes and messages; read the graffiti left by rescue and recovery workers on what was an alley wall along the bombing site, now preserved; sat near the survivor tree and looked down across the memorial site; entered and left the memorial through the walls that symbolize the beginning and end of that single moment in time; stopped at the weeping Jesus statue at the church across the street; and even marveled at the design of the new federal building that now occupies a nearby block. I've never made it into the memorial museum, in part because the boys have always been with us and have been, by then, tired and ready to head home.

I'm never sure what to say or think or do in the face of tragedy and horror, so I have no deep thoughts to offer. Tears, yes. Things to say, no. Tomorrow I will have the TV on. I will watch and listen and lift up in prayer all who were and are affected by the OKC bombing. And the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on America. And the resulting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Comfort, o comfort your people, Lord.


Donna said...

Amen, Barbara. Amen.

Jess said...

I'm in Oklahoma too (wasn't at the bombing time) and saw some of the coverage as well. I didn't know until the other day taht the memorial "stones" were stairs though! It's a very sad tragedy.


Jess said...

oh my, I am more tired that I thought! I meant to say "chairs" not stairs! Sorry!