Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Oklahoma City Memorial

From the street level we climbed the steps and came out through the western Gate of Time, looking over the reflecting pool that used to be 5th Street.  
The bronze seat-backs of the Empty Chairs and the bronze panels of the Gates of Time, were chosen specifically. Bronze patinas over time. These materials, just like us, will change as every day passes, putting distance and a changing perspective between us and the events of April 19, 1995.

The atmosphere is palpable, silent and reverent. The empty chairs are set like markers in a cemetery, placement and size symbolic of the remembered souls and their place in the building.
There are 168 empty “chairs” where the Alfred P. Murrah building once stood at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The 19 smaller chairs represent the children who were killed.
The bronze backs and glass basses of the Empty Chairs were all individually cast, so that no two chairs are exactly alike. Each chair is unique, just like the 168 lives they represent.
Twenty-one Loblolly pine trees line the perimeter of what was once the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After the bombing, these trees were planted upon this site, because, at their adult height, they will reach the height of a nine story building; the height of the federal building.

A bird walks in the quiet reflecting pool, the murmur of water a soothing sound. 
The reflecting pool at the Oklahoma City National Memorial represents those changed forever by the bombing. It occupies the site of N.W. Fifth Street and recycles 25,700 gallons of water a day, including rain water. 

The Survivor Tree overlooks the site, the elm that barely survived the blast and now represents all those who did survive.
The Survivor Tree is an important symbol of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. A 90+ year old American elm, it survived the April 19, 1995 explosion and represents human resilience. It has also survived Dutch elm disease, drought, tornadoes and ice storms. 
Seeds from the survivor tree are collected every year and distributed at the anniversary ceremony. They are given to survivors and families of victims. Because of this, there are Survivor Trees all over the country, spreading hope and courage. 

Part of the Outdoor Memorial, the Children's Area has large in-ground chalkboards for visiting children to leave messages, next to the wall of message tiles.
Tiles in the children’s area of the Oklahoma City National Memorial represent the thousands of cards, letters, and drawings sent to Oklahoma City from children all over the United States.

The Memorial Fence - originally surrounding the dangerous bombing site, it immediately became a site to place a token of remembrance.
Archivists from the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum remove items from the Memorial Fence every 90 days and place them in the archives. 

On April 19, 1995, a truck-bomb explosion outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, left 168 people dead and hundreds more injured. Until September 11, 2001, the Oklahoma City bombing was the worst terrorist attack to take place on U.S. soil.

A few weeks ago we watched on local television the 20th anniversary ceremony of the Oklahoma City bombing. This past weekend we visited the historic site. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial site is part of the National Park Service.

~references: National Park Service 

1 comment:

Linda J said...

I don't know if I could see this in person as I am a blubbery mess just looking at the photos. A very sad moment in American history and worse, caused by our own countrymen. It must have been moving to see this memorial.