April 19, 1995, changed how I thought about life and a lot of things in general, as I was pregnant with our youngest son. The day started out as a normal day in Oklahoma City and would turn out to be a memorable one in the history of the United States of America. At 9:01 a.m., thousands of lives were impacted.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum is a place that everyone should visit at some point during their lifetime. The story of what happened on that horrific day is told in a way that pulls visitors in and reminds them how valuable life is. As I hopped off of the elevator on the 2nd floor, I was greeted by a movie viewing area, which recapped the day. I glanced around and saw visitors of all ages. Some appeared to be my son’s ages, which set my mind spinning. I wondered what they thought of this event, as they were very little or not even born in 1995.
Oklahoma City was impacted in a way that citizens did not know was possible. The citizens were shaken to their core. The stories of heroism from this tragedy deserve to be told over and over. This national memorial tells those stories and more. I can recall that day, as I watched the horror of the bombing unfold. I watched the television and thought to myself, “What am I doing? I am bringing another child into this wicked world.” The strength of the people of Oklahoma City showed me that life does go on and life can be great again.
The Oklahoma National Memorial Museum shares the story of how the day changed at 9:01 a.m. and walks visitors through the days, months and years that followed.
Allow yourself time to sit and watch the various films that play throughout the museum. This is where you can hear the stories of the people that worked to search for survivors and relive the moment when it became evident that there were no more survivors.
I would encourage visitors to stroll through the memorial grounds in the evening if time allows. The outdoor memorial grounds are a short walk from the museum. 168 people lost their lives on this day in April of 1995, including 19 children. I had chills, as I glanced at photos of children near the memorial, as I could see the eyes of my boys as youngsters. As I strolled through the grounds, I reflected on how the lives of so many were changed by the actions of few people.
I have no doubt that each visitor has their own experience and reflects upon how it impacted their life.
The memorial was designed through the wishes of the survivors, families and community members. The memorial offers remembrance, peace, spirituality and hope, cherished children, comfort, recognition, and learning. It was quite evident that the survivors of this life-changing day are strong people and do their best to share the stories of the outstanding people that lost their lives on April 19, 1995.
*Thank you to the Oklahoma Convention & Visitors Bureau for hosting me.