Tag Archives: Murrah Federal buidling

The Survivor Tree

In Oklahoma, a time to mourn and a time to dance-Tuesday Travels

With  other students from a local  ballroom dance school, I   competed in a dance sport competition in Oklahoma City. An annual event, the Oklahoma Challenge Ballroom Dance competition draws dancers from Oklahoma, surrounding states and as far away as Toronto, Ontario. Many return every year to compete against dancers who have now become dance friends.

The competition occurs at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City and we stay at an adjacent hotel. Nearby is the Bricktown historic district with trendy restaurants, hotels,clubs, shops and the Chesapeake Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.

Also not far away is the site of the biggest “challenge” the city and our state has ever faced- the 1995 domestic terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building. On a spring morning in April, a terrorist parked  a rental truck on the street in front of the building; the truck contained a  5000 pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

A morning of terror

At 9:02 am April 19, 1995 the bomb exploded, destroying one side of the federal building, damaging several adjacent buildings, injuring 680 people and killing 168 people, including 19 children. Until September 11, 2001, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil; it remains the worst domestic terrorist attack.

 

A day of remembrance

On April 19, 2000 ,the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated ; the Museum opened a year later.  I have visited several times, and always come away having seen and learned something new. If you ever travel through Oklahoma, I recommend you put this on your must-see list. When you come,  here are some of the images you will see and experience. 

 

OKC memorial and federal building in the distance

the West Gate of the memorial looking northwest toward the new federal building

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum entrance

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum entrance

 

 

 

 

 

window at the museum

window from the museum overlooking outdoor memorial

Memorial pool and chairs

168 lighted chairs sit on the south lawn of the Memorial.

gold statue shaped like a chair

There is a gold chair for each person who died from the bombing that day.

 

In the days ,weeks and months following the attack ,we learned all the details about the bombing- the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the survivors.

168 Oklahomans lost their lives there that day, including 19 children.

 

My husband and I visited the site after the wreckage was imploded and  the site was fenced off. The fence became a makeshift memorial, as people left mementos of all kinds- dolls, stuffed animals, photos, pictures, flowers, crafts, flags, shirts, letters.  We have visited again since the official memorial  and the museum were established on April 19, 2000. Sections of the fence were left intact, and people still leave mementos; others became part of the museum collection.

 

 

 

 

2016-03-07 12.05.50 2016-03-07 12.08.17 2016-03-07 12.12.19 2016-03-07 12.11.04

 

A long section of the original fence has been left intact, as well as parts of the original federal building wall.

 

sections of damaged wall

sections of damaged wall

 

 

 

Until 9/11, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on United States soil.

"We search for the Truth" written on a wall.

On the wall of the Journal Record Building which was also damaged by the blast; the museum now occupies part of it.

The perpetrators were caught and brought to justice. The driver of the truck was convicted, sentenced to death, and died by execution. The another remains in prison for life.

 

That day in Oklahoma City showed the best  in our state and our country as people, some with no training , risked their lives to help rescue people who were injured and trapped inside. Firefighters and police came from all over the United States to help. People donated food and first aid supplies.

 

children and adults visiting a wall decorated with handprints

Schools regularly bring students to visit the memorial and museum

 

colorful hand painted tiles from children

Tiles hand painted by children were sent to the city as a show of support and sympathy.

bright colored flowers along a wall

Pansies are popular in Oklahoma in the fall and spring.

 

 

 

 

 

I was proud to be an Oklahoman then and now, and still grieve for the lives we lost that day.

The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree, an American elm, survived the blast and is part of the Memorial.

 

 

 

 

statue of Christ with head bowed

statue of a grieving Christ, in the courtyard of a church across the street from the memorial

 

 

There is

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:4, ESV 

 

 

 

 

 

Remarks made by Governor Frank Keating at the Memorial Dedication , April 19, 2000

“We remember that moment that is framed forever by these twin gates. Our place of remembrance is filled with those symbols (ribbons, angels, flags) and also filled with love-the love of countless Americans whose ideas and support and contributions helped create this beautiful memorial.

On April 19 five years ago the flag of our nation was flying over the Murrah building. It is flying over our memorial today, and flies proudly in our hearts.

For those who perpetrated this act, we have one message:

In America you can speak and vote and complain, but there is no right to maim and bomb and kill…and if you think you’ll bring that flag down, there is your answer.

We are all Oklahomans today, and we are all Americans. May God continue to bless our beloved land. ”

quote from The Official Record of the Oklahoma City Bombing, published by Oklahoma Today Magazine 

 

 

 

In a previous post, I shared how that day unfolded for me.

I will never forget the Oklahoma City bombing.

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"We search for the Truth" written on a wall.

Remembering the Oklahoma City bombing- Tuesday Travels

 

April 19  is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing  of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which remains the deadliest domestic “homegrown” terrorist incident in the United States.

I lived there in the 1970s while in medical school and residency at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and visit frequently. These are my memories of that day.

“I will never forget the Oklahoma City bombing”

On April 19, 1995 I was seeing patients in my family practice office  in Tulsa Oklahoma when my medical assistant  told me a bomb had exploded in Oklahoma City, 90 miles away. We didn’t have computers, smartphones or internet so I turned on a radio and heard news reports that shocked and saddened me.

A massive bomb had exploded at the Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City , something I thought only happened overseas. Who would bomb a building in Oklahoma?  we all asked ourselves. Several employees heard from friends or relatives who lived in or near OKC, as we call it; some said they felt their homes shake several miles away from the blast site.

Oklahoma mural

A mural representing Oklahoma culture decorates downtown Oklahoma City today

 

 

 

 

As I drove home from work that afternoon I encountered a traffic jam on a usually easy drive; I assumed a car wreck was  tying up traffic. Instead,  cars of people  trying to get into the local Red Cross blood donation facility created the backup; when I finally drove past I saw a long line of people waiting to enter.

I picked up my 10 year old son from school and realized the teachers had not told the students . I explained to him what had happened , as well as you can explain something so horrible to a child.

He looked at me and said, ” Mom, the 5th graders went to Oklahoma City today.” I remembered seeing the charter bus parked at the school that morning for the annual field trip to the science museum in OKC. Since I knew the museum was not downtown, I assured him the children from his school were safe.

Bricktown in Oklahoma City

Bricktown area of OKC with Cox Convention Center and Devon Energy Center tower behind

 

Chesapeake Arena

Chesapeake Arena, home of our popular Thunder Basketball team

 

 

They next morning as usual I turned on the television to watch the morning news while I dressed for work. I can’t believe now that I wondered if there would be any news of the bombing on national television; it had dominated our local news the evening before.

I turned to the Today show and found that it was broadcasting from OKC, as were all the major networks ,and devoted the entire broadcast to the bombing. I think that was my first inkling what a momentous event it was.

They interviewed a doctor from St Anthony Hospital, just down the street from the Murrah Building- he was one of my medical school professors, the first time someone I knew personally was on national television.

 

window at the museum

window from the museum overlooking outdoor memorial

Memorial pool and chairs

Field of Empty Chairs beside the Reflecting Pool – Each gold chair represents a deceased victim.

 

 

In the following days, weeks and months we learned all the details about the bombing- the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the survivors.

168 Oklahomans lost their lives there that day, including 19 children.

 

My husband and I visited the site after the wreckage was imploded, when the site was fenced off.  The fence became a makeshift memorial, as people left mementos of all kinds- dolls, stuffed animals, photos, pictures, flowers, crafts, flags, shirts, letters.  We have visited again since the official memorial  and the museum were established on April 19, 2000.

 

 

 

 

2016-03-07 12.05.50 2016-03-07 12.08.17 2016-03-07 12.12.19 2016-03-07 12.11.04

 

a long section of the original fence has been left intact, as well as parts of the original federal building wall.

 

sections of damaged wall sections of damaged wall

 

 

 

Until 9/11, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on United States soil.

 

OKC memorial and federal building in the distance

The West Gate of Time. the Reflecting Pool  and looking  northwest toward the new federal building in the distance

 

 

That day in Oklahoma City showed the best  in our state and our country as people, some with no training , risked their lives to help rescue people who were injured and trapped inside. Firefighters and police came from all over the United States to help. People donated food and first aid supplies.

 

children and adults visiting a wall decorated with handprints

Schools regularly bring students to visit the memorial and museum; these are visiting the children’s area

 

colorful hand painted tiles from children

Tiles hand painted by children were sent to the city as a show of support and sympathy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was proud to be an Oklahoman then and now, and still grieve for the lives we lost that day.

The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, survived the blast

 

a video remembrance:

20 years later: Remembering Oklahoma City

 

"We search for the Truth" written on a wall.

On the wall of the Journal Record Building which was also damaged by the blast; the museum now occupies part of it.

 

statue of Christ with head bowed

statue of a grieving Christ, in the courtyard of a church across the street from the memorial

 

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is privately funded. The memorial is free and open to the public. An admission is charged to tour the museum. According to the website-

 

“The Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) organization which owns and operates the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The Foundation is the caretaker of both the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial and the Memorial Museum. It does not receive any annual operating funds from the federal, state or local government. Museum admissions, store sales, the Memorial Marathon, private fundraising and earnings from an endowment allow the Memorial and Museum to be self-sustaining.”

Thank you for joining me to remember and honor those injured and killed in the Murrah Building and the heroes who rescued them.

                                               Dr.Aletha 

I will never forget the Oklahoma City bombing

via 20 years later: Remembering Oklahoma City.

On April 19, 1995 I was seeing patients in my family practice office  in Tulsa Oklahoma when my medical assistant walked by and told me a bomb had exploded in Oklahoma City, 90 miles away. We didn’t have computers, smart phones or internet so I turned on a radio I kept in my office and soon began hearing news reports that shocked and saddened me. In fact, a massive bomb had exploded at the Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City , something I thought only happened overseas. Who would bomb a building in Oklahoma we all asked ourselves. Several employees heard from friends or relatives who lived in or near OKC, as we call it; some said they felt their homes shake several miles away from the site.

As I drove home from work that afternoon I encountered a traffic jam on a usually easy drive; I thought there must have been a car wreck tying up traffic. It turned out to be a back up of cars trying to get into the local Red Cross blood donation facility; when I finally drove by there was a long line of people waiting to enter.

I picked up my 10 year old son from school and realized the teachers had not told the students . I explained to him what had happened , as well as you can explain something so horrible to a child. He looked at me and said, ” Mom, the 5th graders went to Oklahoma City today.” I remembered seeing the charter bus parked at the school that morning for the annual field trip to the science museum in OKC. I assured him they were safe.

They next morning I turned on the television to watch the morning news while I dressed for work, as I always did. I can’t believe now that I wondered if there would be any news of the bombing on national television; it had dominated our local news the evening before. I turned to the Today show and found that it was broadcasting from OKC, as were all the major networks ,and devoted the entire broadcast to the bombing. I think that was my first inkling what a momentous event it was. I continued watching; soon they interviewed a doctor from St Anthony Hospital, just down the street from the Murrah Building- he was one of my medical school professors, the first time someone I knew personally was on national television.

In the following days, weeks and months we learned all the details about the bombing- the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the survivors. My husband and I visited the site after the wreckage was imploded, and the site was fenced off. The fence became a make shift memorial, as people left mementos of all kinds- dolls, stuffed animals, photos, pictures, flowers, crafts, flags. We visited again when the official memorial  and the museum were established. Until 9/11, it was the worst act of terrorism on United States soil.

at the entrance to the memorial museum, art work done by local school children is displayed on a brick wall

That day in Oklahoma City showed some of the best in our state and our country as people, some with no training , risked their lives to help rescue people who were injured and trapped inside. Firefighters and police came from all over the United States to help. People donated food and first aid supplies. I was proud to be an Oklahoman then and now, and still grieve for the loss we sustained that day.

At the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where I attended medical school; several OU physicians treated those injured in the bombing and some victims still receive ongoing rehab there

At the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where I attended medical school;
several OU physicians treated those injured in the bombing and some victims still receive ongoing rehab there

https://oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/