How the Oklahoma City bombing changed 4 women’s lives

Twenty three year old Madison Naylor was among the infants being cared for at the YMCA daycare located next door to the federal building at the time the bomb exploded. The building was heavily damaged but she and the other children survived.

April 19, 2019 marked the 24th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City is the capital of my home state and was my home for 7 years while I attended medical school and completed my residency in Family Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

From the bombing, 168 people died, hundreds were injured, and our state and our nation were changed forever. Never had there been such an act of horror and carnage on U.S. soil.

I’ve written here about the bombing and showed you pictures from the site which is now a memorial and museum. I’m doing that again but this time with news about 4 women who have turned the event into something positive.

OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

a past survivor, now a future doctor

Twenty three year old Madison Naylor was among the infants being cared for at the YMCA daycare located next door to the federal building at the time the bomb exploded. The building was heavily damaged but she and the other children survived.

“I remember when I was very young, I had a feeling that I had been really close to death, …I hope I can be something good that came from something so horrific.”

Madison Naylor, bombing survivor
some of the memorials hung on the the fence that surrounded the bombing site have been left intact.

Madison grew up learning about the bombing and about medicine. Her father and aunt are both physicians, and now she is a first-year medical student at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

“I know the bombing is still a part of people’s lives here. It’s humbling to be associated with such a tragic event. I hope that I can be a positive face going forward.”

Madison Naylor, medical student

I learned Madison’s story from OU Medicine magazine . You can read her story at this link.

Oklahoma City Bombing Survivor Begins Journey to Become Physician

The SURVIVOR TREE remained standing when everything around it was destroyed by the bomb. It survives to this day.

“I just want to be the kind of person who leaves the world a better place than I found it.”

Madison Naylor, MS1
TILES PAINTED BY CHILDREN FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND DONATED TO THE MUSEUM ARE DISPLAYED AT THE ENTRANCE

Another story in the Fall/Winter issue of OU Magazine discusses

OKC Bombing Research Advances Disaster Mental Health Worldwide

The bombing changed not only Oklahoma City, but also our state, and our entire country. It was the worst terrorist event on U.S. soil until 9/11. All of us were touched in some way, but especially 3 women who worked in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

“None of us was thinking about studying disasters…But we kept studying …the Oklahoma City survivors over the years..Then started helping with disasters elsewhere.”

Betty Pfefferbaum, M.D., J.D. department chairman
This window in the museum overlooks the memorial.

Dr. Pfefferbaum, along with colleagues Phebe Tucker, M.D., and Sandra Allen, Ph.D. treated and studied trauma victims from the bombing and shared their findings with other doctors who use it to treat survivors around the world.

Lessons learned from the OKC disaster trauma

  • Disasters affect many different groups of people beyond those at the site-family, first responders, the community
  • Terrorism victims have higher than average rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression than people who never experienced it.
  • Some people develop a biological response to disaster causing a higher resting heart rate than those not affected.

Dr. Allen developed an intervention to help children of trauma process their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes children think they have to hide their feelings or act out when they hare hurting. This program helps them process those feelings and learn how to cope. You can read the details of this program at this link-

Listen to the Children

At a church across the street from the memorial

The work has rippled out into the world in ways that none of them could have imagined…

OU Medicine magazine
Words written on the wall of the former Journal Record Building which sat across from the federal building. These words, painted by a rescue team who searched for survivors that day,remain as a silent witness of the horrible event.

photos in this post taken by Dr. Aletha in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

sharing the HEART of health

Thanks to OU Magazine and KFOR for sharing these stories. Please follow the links above and read the entire articles. And share this post wherever you spend time online.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

lemons into lemonade

I am delighted that Janice Wald, author and blogger at Mostly Bloggging, called this her “favorite post ” when I submitted it at her Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. Please visit Janice’s blog where you can learn about writing, blogging, productivity, marketing, and more.


It isn’t often that I see news-related posts left here and even rarer that, when I do, they are so inspirational. The post really exemplifies the expression, “Turn lemons into lemonade.”

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging
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APRIL Timely Topics-spring, special days, travel

I hope you can take advantage of the warmth to be outdoors doing fun and healthy activities-walking, biking, swimming, gardening, playing with kids. I’ll share some posts to help you do those activities safely.

In the northern half of the earth it’s finally spring all month long. Warmer, longer days are pleasant but can bring new health challenges and opportunities.

I hope you can take advantage of the warmth to be outdoors doing fun and healthy activities-walking, biking, swimming, gardening, playing with kids. I’ll share some posts to help you do those activities safely.

Photo by Lgh_9 on Pexels.com

April timely topics include

  • how to avoid sunburn, insect bites, and blisters
  • health issues that occur in the spring and summer, like seasonal allergies
  • events that occur in April or that we remember this month
  • water safety

faith, hope, and love

And in the faith, hope, and love selections we’ll remember Christians’ observance of Easter

April 19-remembering Oklahoma City

On April 19, 1995, a domestic terrorist left a bomb in a truck in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; I had lived there for 7 years while in medical school and residency. 168 people died, including 19 children. Until 9/11/2001, it was the largest loss of life due to terrorism on U.S. soil.

The incident was shocking and traumatic to our entire country but especially here in our state. Oklahoma is usually a peaceful place; we deal with tornadoes and floods but not bombings. So every year we remember the victims, their families, and especially those who rescued the wounded , and the survivors who rebuilt their lives.

window at the Oklahoma City bombing museum
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

thanks for exploring with me

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

You will find links to the Timely Topics on the Home page and on the right sidebar on every post (you may need to scroll down to find them on a mobile or tablet)

Featured image

The featured image at the top of this post is a beautiful dogwood tree. They bloom in the spring here in Oklahoma.

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Spring Promotion – $5 off $45 @ eBooks.com. Use Code: springebookscp. Valid until June 20.
RoboForm Password Manager. What I use to manage passwords.

“write them on your heart”- Weekend Words

“write them on your heart” more weekend words from Proverbs

Proverbs, Wisdom Day by Day

colorful painted tiles displayed on wall
Children painted tiles to express condolences when the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed in 1995. The tiles are displayed outside the memorial museum now.

 

Proverbs 3:3-8 , ERV (Easy to Read Version)

“Don’t ever let love and loyalty leave you. Tie them around your neck, and write them on your heart.

 Then God will be pleased and think well of you and so will everyone else.

 Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.

 With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.

 Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord and stay away from evil.

 If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body.”

 

 

Proverbs is perhaps the most practical book in the Bible. These words of wisdom grew out of the common experiences of human life.

The teachers of ancient times were eager to share what they had learned about life. Their insights helped them in their daily living and their relationships.

The reward of wisdom is a better and happier life.”

Spiritual Formation Bible, published by Zondervan

 

more about the Oklahoma City bombing at this link-

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

 

Thank you for using the affiliate links in this post.

Please come back for more words of faith, hope, and love,  and share with your friends on social media. Thanks so much.

Dr. Aletha 

In Oklahoma, a time to mourn and a time to dance

For the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing-

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.

A lifetime of honor

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.

remembering the heart of health

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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/