“What brings you to Oklahoma City?”
This was a question posed by each of my Uber drivers as I toured the city. While my husband headed a meeting in town, I got the chance to play tourist.
“Have you visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial yet?”
This was also a question each driver asked.
“No,” I replied each time.
“You should definitely go.”
The Oklahoma City National Memorial stands at the site where 168 people lost their lives due to domestic terrorism on April 19, 1995.
I was across the country when I heard about the devastation on the news.
A driver stated he was just across town when he and his mother heard the explosion. At first, they thought it was thunder, but the skies were blue and clear. It was only later he heard what had happened.
He shared the story of a friend of his. She was the mother of two children aged two and four. The four-year-old seemed not to be feeling well. The mother debated going in to work that day, but as time went on her four-year-old seemed to be doing better. No fever, so she decided to go to work. She dropped her two kids off at the daycare center at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Then, she started to walk to her office. The bomb detonated. She survived, but it took the lives of her two precious children.
I told the driver I would go and see the memorial.
I asked my husband to join me. We walked the Field of Empty Chairs. I saw two small chairs next to each other and I thought of that poor mother and started to cry. This community was deeply affected by such violence. But they rallied together to help survivors and families of those who were lost. They came together as a community.
The memorial was built to give hope. Violence does not have the last word.
I wanted to share the pictures of my visit there. I felt the remembrance needed to be shared. If you have time to visit the memorial in Oklahoma City, I’d encourage you to go. It is a gut-wrenching site.
I said a prayer to those who had died and those who were affected from the events. I prayed for this community and any so touched by violence. I prayed for hope. Hope that dwells within the darkest of events.
Almighty God, who hast created us in thine own image:The Book of Common Prayer (1979)
Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make
no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use
our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of
justice in our communities and among the nations, to the
glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.
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