Because I work all week, when we are stopped for only two weeks at a location, we only have one weekend to see the local attractions. Being that there wasn’t too much Rt.66 stuff in the area we decided to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and the Oklahoma Museum of Art to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit.
The events of April 19, 1995, when a truck packed with explosives was detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The powerful explosion blew off the building’s entire north wall killing 168 peopleincluding 19 children who were in the building’s day care center at the time of the blast. More than 650 people were injured in the bombing, which damaged or destroyed over 300 buildings in the immediate area.
These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.
The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street and where the truck bomb was parked.
The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.
On the east end of the Memorial stand the only remaining walls from the Murrah Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the terrorist attack, many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby.
The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack.
In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings.
The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.
The outdoor memorial is a place of quiet reflection. The memorial museum is an interactive learning experience. To truly experience this intense place you need to visit both in order to experience the entire story of the bombing.
DALE CHIHULY: Magic & Light Exhibit
The Museum’s collection represents over three decades of Chihuly’s finest work and heralds this brilliant luminist as the most important artist working in glass since Louis Comfort Tiffany.
We had a great time in Oklahoma City, and if the weather was a little better, we would have stayed longer. We’re now heading straight south to hopefully a warmer climate. Not much will be happening in the next few weeks (travel, park, work, repeat) until we get to our holiday stop in Las Cruces New Mexico.