Twenty-five years ago today, On April 19th, 1995 at 9am Central Time, A rented Ryder Van loaded with over 4800 pounds of explosives was ignited in front of the Alfred P Murrah building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The perpetrator/terrorist ignited a two-minute fuse and ran away. At 9:02am the bomb ignited destroying much of the building and left 168 dead (including 19 children) and leaving over 600 wounded. It was at the time, the largest single act of domestic terrorism the United States had encountered. Two men were arrested for this heinous act. One was executed, the other is serving a life sentence without parole after his jury deadlocked on the death penalty. Neither of them is worth having their names mentioned in this post.
As the city began to recover from this tragedy, the suggestion was made to turn the grounds of the former building into a memorial park. On April 19th, 2000, the National Oklahoma City Memorial was dedicated. The grounds include twin bronze arcs called “the gates of time”, One arc has 9:01 written it while the other says 9:03 symbolic of when time forever changed. There is a reflecting pool and what is the most moving for me a field of empty chairs. Each of the 168 chairs has a glass base that is lit up at night and the name one of those killed. the chairs are in rows of nine symbolizing the nine floors of the Murrah building. Some of the chairs are smaller to honor the 19 children and there is also a separate row of five chairs for the five people who were killed in neighboring buildings. There is also a museum that houses artifacts from the bombing and cards and gifts that were sent to Oklahoma from all over the world.
The Park’s serene presence is a font of succor and is a lovely tribute to all those who needlessly died here. Out of such horror came a place of love and comfort. It reminds me of a Bible verse I learned as a child:
“Where sin doth abound, Grace doth more abound” Romans 5:20