September 20, 2012

What Has Happened to Us?...

I'm not sure how many of you remember the Oklahoma City Bombing of the Murrah building in 1995, but I can tell you it is something I will never forget. I was 21 years old just living life like everyone else without a care in the world. One morning, all that changed as it did for most Oklahomans. Imagine a bomb so powerful that it shook the building I was working in over 25 miles away. Imagine a man filled with so much hate and anger that he killed 168 people including 19 children all because of his delusion of the mistreatment of the United States government. Its crazy to think about. Its crazy to imagine. It was crazy to live through that horrible time
in Oklahoma City.

 I don't do well with sadness. I'm one of those whom cries uncontrollably when I see others in pain. For that reason, I have never attended the memorial. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Finally, 17 years later, I forced myself to visit with my mother in law and parents. I guess I could say I was glad I went, but I'm not really sure that I am. If anything I've thought over these past few days of how we can be so cruel to one another, and why do some resort to violence in an attempt to prove their point. Don't they see no point is made at all?

 Immediately walking into the entrance of the outside memorial, I was overwhelmed with grief when I looked at the 168 chairs representing the approximate location each victim was located when the bomb was denoted. The entrances are enclosed with large black marble walls representing the times 9:01 when it was just like any other day and 9:03 when everything changed for everyone in Oklahoma. Its true though, before1995 most Americans thought terrorism was something that was overseas, far, far away from their normal lives. In that one moment, people realized that terrorism can be your neighbor, an American.

 After we walked through the outside memorial, we went into the 3 story museum. It was very well done and truly depicted the time, situation, shock, despair, and healing that occurred for Oklahomans. The Murrah building was visited by most people in OKC at some point or another. My mother paid her water bill there many times. We attended St. Joseph's Church right next door on a regular basis. It puts everything in perspective and makes you realize how quickly everything can change without your foresight or control.

 The hardest part for me was the children's section. Any mother will tell you that the thought of losing their child would be unbearable. Timothy McVeigh intentionally chose the Murrah building because it had a nursery on site. He intentionally planned for the bomb to go off at 9 am when the most amount of people would be in the building and all the children would be checked in for the day. No one can help but wonder, "How can he be that crazy? How can he be full of so much evil?"
 I can't lie. I went home and held my daughter like it was the last time I would hold her. When I put her to sleep that night, I held her for a little bit longer, cradled her a little bit harder than I normally do. I hurt for those mothers who lost their children in this senseless act, and I think about what have we become?

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