Remembering: OKC Memorial


Osiyo~

My mistake on the flubbed post this morning. Ruth Casie will be on the ranch at a later time. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you what the day means to Oklahoma (and I’m sure many Americans around the country). Today is a somber day of Remembrance and Memorializing.

Seventeen years ago today I was living in a mobile home park in Modesto, California enjoying my three young daughters, 5, 8, 10, and basically loving life-even though I was perpetually homesick for my home state of Oklahoma. More specifically, I was walking across the street to our house from my best friend’s but she called me back. We had been in California for six years and I wanted to ‘go home’ since the day we left to move west with just two kids in ’88. It was not to be. Not for 18 1/2 years was I able to come back to the tornado-ridden state I love. So why, in eighteen years, did April 19th, 1995 stand out? 9:01 am that morning was the last moment of serene peace in my home state. 9:03 am began the moment of recovery. It’s that minute between I’m talking about.

“At 9:02, on April 19, 1995, Gulf War vet, Timothy McVeigh detonated 4,800 lbs of fertilizer and fuel oil. The resulting blast destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal government Building and killed 168 people. The bombing, largest act of domestic terrorism, in America, shattered pre-911 America’s innocence.” ~ http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/index.php?title=Oklahoma_City_Bombing#The_Firefighter

[image deleted] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cb/Oklahomacitybombing-DF-ST-98-01356.jpg/220px-Oklahomacitybombing-DF-ST-98-01356.jpg

At 9:02 am, April 19, 1995 168 lives were snuffed out, including 3 unborn babies and 19 small children. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, cousins… Dead because of a man (I use the term very loosely) named Timothy McVeigh. I give that person no credit for anything other than death and destruction; of this mayhem, pain, suffering, loss and subsequent confusion. He was anti-government to put it simply. He’d considered many other targets, one here or there- but I guess he decided to kill 168 innocent rather than just one. It made a bigger statement…I suppose he figured. He drove a Ryder moving van up to the back of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and walked away, leaving the bomb to do its damage. Why? Because he was a sick cowardly bastard. He never completely revealed his reasons for murdering so many innocent people. Oh, he gave ‘reasons’, excuses, in the six years following- before dying unceremoniously by lethal injection June 11, 2001  (which was too good for the … words fail…if you ask me!).

You think I’m being harsh? What, judgmental? No. I’m being honest in my opinion after sadly holding onto a bumper sticker that every American should own proudly with this image on it.

I’m angry and I, like so many, feel invaded!

We writers are famous for glorifying various types of heroes. Cowboys, Military, Law enforcement, First Responders, even unhuman heroes.

[image deleted] http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/2007/10/21/oklahoma-city-bombing-1995/

But this particular picture is why I write about Firemen. Really and seriously. If you wonder why I write what I do, well for these specific heroes, this is my answer… That’s not to say the police aren’t as much the heroes. It was two police officers who found Baylee and one rushed her to the man in this photo. And in the OKC bombing it was all manner of first responders- the firemen- who braved the fire and damage, the chaos, to search for even a spark of life. One even lost his life during the days following this atrocity. And, yes, this image really was made into a bumper sticker to represent courage and survival, but mostly the innocent, in times of adversity. Yes, I really do still have my sticker tucked away so I will never forget (not that any Oklahoman is ever likely to forget) what that day did, or more aptly- what it DIDN’T do to us.

OKC Fire Capt. Chris Fields’s image is my reason. (in 2005 Chris was a Major and acting battalion chief for OKC fire dept) It seems to always be in the back of my mind. My inspiration to write about the good guys. The baby? She ded just after this picture was taken. Her name was Miss Baylee Almon.  She’d turned one year old the day before this picture was taken. Yesterday Baylee would have turned 18. But seventeen years later none of this is diminished or forgotten. I sat watching the Memorial this morning and crying for what might have been for those 168 who didn’t go home at the end of that very long day. That is what is real.

[image deleted] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/The_Survivor_Tree_at_the_Oklahoma_City_National_Memorial.jpg/800px-The_Survivor_Tree_at_the_Oklahoma_City_National_Memorial.jpg

How old would those other 18, under-six-yr-old, babies be today? What of the other 145 loved ones taken, robbed from their families too soon…and for what?  They are all missed and mourned today. Not one more or less than another. If you are in or near OKC the museum is offering free admission today only (this does not include the Memorial which is always free). Maybe you want to take a seedling of the Survivor Tree elm to plant in your little corner of the world. Click the link to read the tree’s incredible story. Yes, it too is a survivor of that fateful day. The Oklahoma City National Memorial, located on NW. Fifth Street between Harvey and Robinson, is open 24 hours daily. Admission is free.

I try to put a positive turn on everything and I think seeing the loved ones of those lost participating in the Memorial today is that this time. As the children’s names were read two mallard drakes flew in to walk the length of the reflecting pool and frolic in the shallow water. I know those 18 babies would have loved to see them. It seemed fitting.

Dodadagohvi~

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About Calisa Rhose

I'm a mother of three daughters, five granddaughters (with a new surprise on the way), and wife to a wonderfully supportive man. I began writing warm-you-to-the-bones romance as a teen, and the addiction has now morphed into a life of its own. I became a published author in May 2011! I create art and jewelry with polymer clay and beads to relax, and have a passion for sewing for fun. Check out my Tips From an Editor blog at https://painlessediting.wordpress.com/ See my art, craft and sewing projects at http://lisasfancifulallure.wordpress.com

Posted on 04/19/2012, in Blogs, family and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. The 19th is a hard day around these parts, and for a lot of people even 17 years later. Myself included for various reasons. Thanks for remembering, Calisa. The victims, the first responders, and everyone whose life was touched by the tragedy.

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  2. Here in Florida and across the country, we were riveted to our televisions. It’s true that an event like this burns into our hearts forever. The thing that made this one more horrendous than some was the little children involved. No one could fathom the kind of monster who could do this. My son went to the same combat engineering school that this psycho had attended. Word was, he was an idiot even then.

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  3. Sandy Bruney

    Very touching, Calisa. We need to remember these families and keep them in our hearts and prayers. The pain never goes away.

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    • I didn’t know any of the victims, but I felt so violated when I heard. I listen to each name every year, as I did when it first happened. It deeply affects every Oklahoman in ways it might not affect others somewhere else. Like 9-11, I know how I feel as an American, as a person- but I know those who live in NY feel it at a much deeper, personal level. I can understand that level of pain having gone through this tragedy. It doesn’t make our pain and fears less because we don’t live there, but it is different. Thanks, Sandy.

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  4. Do you know – I’ve never seen that photo before Calisa – so thank you for sharing. God – this is such heart-rending stuff isn’t it? Why do/did such people like this exist? Intent on hurting as many people as possible for their warped ‘beliefs’. They are showing that Norweigen massacre killer’s trail on the news every night – and I just want to slap that smirk off his face every time I see it.

    I guess, all we can do is remember those people lost in such atrotious acts and love our fellow man, friends and family just that little bit more.

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    • I haven’t heard about the Norwegian massacre. I’ll have to google it now. I don’t understand people like this at all, LaVerne. It just makes me so angry that they get ‘fair’ treatment after such violence though. I’m glad our country gives fair treatment, but that those people ‘expect’ it…unbelievable.

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  5. I remember exactly where I was, babysitting for my cousin’s little girl when the news came on TV. It’s amazing how, when tragedy strikes, it burns a memory into our hearts and minds.

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  6. I’m glad to hear you were able to salvage something good out of this horrible event – your wonderful fireman stories

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    • It makes me more determined to finish the one going because I’m sure there are more heroes waiting to tell me their story. None as sad as this, however.

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  7. A touching post that brings back sad memories.

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  8. Yeah, I can see it now. That’s the picture I was talking about. Sad. So sad.

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  9. Very eloquent post, Calisa. I can never understand how people think it’s ok to kill others who have done nothing to them. Was McVeigh’s execution necessary? Yes. There are others in history that deserved the same fate. Hitler, for one. One can only imagine the horror and eternal emptiness of those who lost loved ones that day, and it saddens my heart to think of their pain.

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    • You know, I always rode the fence on executions until McVeigh. I think that was when I decided there is just some who need the Bible’s eye for an eye penance. Thanks for your thoughts, Vonnie.

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  10. Hi Amy. You might be able to see the picture now. I might have been editing due to technical issues.

    This day is so important to us all for different reasons, for similar reasons.
    I didn’t realize the other anniversaries were at the same time of month/year. That’s…disturbing. Crazy. Thank you for sharing your story of that day.

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  11. Hey, Calisa. I think every Okie can tell you where they were when this happened. I was on hold on the telephone trying to get my ps and qs straight so I could leave the country. I heard about if from the radio station they played when they put me on hold. I can’t see the picture for some reason, but I think I know which one it is. I still have the copy of that Time magazine. It went with me to Puerto Rico and back. It’s tucked away with other tragic mementos that I cannot seem to throw away. It’s just too harsh.
    Ironically enough, today is also the anniversary (if you will) of the siege of the compound of David Koresch in Waco, Texas, and tomorrow is the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. I don’t know what it is about this time of year that seems to make people a little crazy. I guess all we can do is pray and be careful.

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