Erin is an artist, so she was interested in the museum idea as much as I was. We threw our bags in the convertible and headed up 35 discussing what all we might want to do and see, and another idea came along. Someone had told Erin the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial was a must see.
Frankly, I had kind of forgotten there even was a memorial. (After being there, I won't forget again.) We looked it up and headed there first thing upon arriving in the city. How to describe the experience of being there is unfortunately beyond my verbal or writing ability.
A large reflecting pool, which is only an inch deep while giving the impression of being much deeper, sits between two massive gates. A street ran where this pool now sits, the street in front of the Murrah building.
One gate has 9:01 inscribed upon it. The second gate reads 9:03. That's because at 9:02 on April 19, 1995 a bomb exploded killing 168 people and damaging countless other lives. The gates symbolize the innocence before the bomb and the horror after it.
Where the building once stood, now there is a field of empty chairs. The chairs are in 9 rows, symbolizing the 9 stories of the building. Each chair represents a life lost on one of those floors. There are 19 smaller chairs representing the children under age 6 who were killed. They were in the day care center on the second floor of the building. A few chairs sit to the side representing those who were killed outside of the building.
This elm is famous because it somehow survived the blast. Although severely damaged, it has represented hope and healing. Seeds from this tree are gathered and distributed annually to commemorate perseverance in the face of tremendous pain.
Children from all over sent gifts and drawings after the bombing. An important part of the memorial is a children's area that features decorated tiles.
It was a somber way to start our trip, but an important reminder. More about OKC to come...