Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oklahoma City National Memorial

In June 2007 Kathi and I went to Guthrie, Oklahoma, just north of Oklahoma City for a family reunion. The reunion was arranged by Kathi’s older brother Carl who hosted the reunion at his home in Guthrie. Guthrie is Kathi’s birthplace and we have visited there several times. Kathi was five when she left Guthrie for Texas, but she still has a lot of memories of friends and relatives there.

We parked our RV at the Cedar Valley RV Park on the west side of Guthrie on West University Avenue. The RV park is on a hilltop and is adjacent to the Cimarron National Golf Club. It is a quiet, peaceful place to stay in farming country which draws a lot of colorful birds that fly around the park. I saw a redheaded woodpecker when we got there in our RV, but he was gone before I could get a picture.

While we were in the area, Kathi and I took her younger brother, Larry and his wife Andrea with us to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum at 620 West Harvey Avenue in Oklahoma City.

This memorial was erected as remembrance for the 168 people, including 19 children, who died in the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building which was blown up on April 19, 1995 by Timothy McVeigh using a truck load of fertilizer as bomb material. Thirty orphans resulted from the deaths and two hundred nineteen children lost one parent.

Some of the features of the memorial are:

One hundred sixty eight bronze and stone chairs with a glass base etched with the name of each individual that died. Children’s chairs are smaller than adult chairs.

At each entrance to the memorial are the bronze Gates of Time. The east gate is labeled 9:01 and represents the last moments of peace before the bombing and the west gate is labeled 9:03 representing the time recovery from the bombing began.

The Survivor’s Tree is an American elm that was damaged in the explosion -- it lost many branches. The tree was living, but still in recovery.

I was fascinated by thin film of flowing water over the black granite in the reflecting pool that appears like a mirror to see your reflection. They claim every person that sees their reflection is changed by the event. I know I had a somber feeling just being on the grounds and it is certainly an experience that will stay with me forever. I think the others with me had the same feelings.  

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Field of empty chairs
Larry and Andrea viewing the memorial. Note the small chair commemorating children. 

Empty chairs seen from the back. See the reflection pool on the other side of the field of empty chairs.

Another view of the field of empty chairs

Our RV parked at Cedar Valley RV Park

A miniature RV and small tables and TV dish

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