Friday, July 13, 2012

Oklahoma City National Memorial

On our drive from California to Georgia, we made relatively few exciting stops.  It was just too darn hot to be outside for very long.  We did, however make it a point to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  That was an experience I will never forget.
There was far too much to photograph, and too much to relay verbally, so I will just hit a few of the significants.
Across the street from the actual place of the bombing was this statue of the Savior facing away from the memorial.  This depiction of our Redeemer in sorrow really struck me. 
Next to it was the plaque pictured below.  In case you can't read it, it said the following:
And Jesus Wept
John 11
On April 19, 1995 at 9:02 a.m., a bomb exploded just a few hundred feet east of here.  In that instant and the ensuing calamity, 168 people were known to be killed.  Devastation covered this area.  The parish house which stood on this corner was demolished and Saint Joseph Old Cathedral was severely damaged.
In the Sacred Scriptures, Jesus is seen as weeping over Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed.  He wept for those whose lives would be lost.  In the shortest verse of the Bible, Jesus weeps over the death of His friend Lazarus.  Here we depict that same Jesus weeping and turning away from the bombing destruction.  He stands facing the niches in our granite wall that represent each of the victims of the bombing.
Yes, the watchful eye of God is always on His People.  The compassion of Christ is always waiting for His people.  These were His people who died in the bombing but now can live in Him Who said: "I am the Resurrection.  I am the Life.  Whoever believes in Me, even if he die, will live forever."  We believe in Jesus and trust that His merciful love has brought our brothers and sisters, victims of the tragedy, to life everlasting.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

This tragic event occurred when I was only 12 years old, so my memory of the details were minimal.  I did not recall, for instance, that there was a daycare facility within the Murray Building and that none of those innocent babies survived.  There was a picture inside the memorial of a Firefighter carrying a severely injured little girl...I couldn't bring myself to photograph it, but it became very real to me, the horror of that mornings' events, when I thought of losing one of my children.  They also had a room that held a picture of each victim in a glass case with some of their personal belongings...pacifiers, stuffed animals, small shoes, to name just a few, were among those of the children's things.  Each of those individuals became REAL to me in those moments of seeing their faces and physical possessions they treasured during mortality. 

Most of the areas I photographed had a plaque with an explanation.  I have included pictures of those plaques...they do a better job of explaining than I ever could. 

  Near the tiles that were displayed, there large chalkboard slabs on the ground for children to draw or leave notes on.  Carter drew his version of the state of Oklahoma and Gavin likewise left his sentiments.  :)

The Alfred P. Murrah Building.
There were two things that I left the memorial feeling that day; first, a deep sorrow for the violence that seems to be ever-resilient in our world and the lives that are destroyed because of it, but second and more importantly, an abiding hope for a better future and gratitude to those who refuse to be silenced, stopped, or permanently discouraged when darkness attempts to prevail.  There will always be light above the ashes, if we will but look up. 


Jen said...

Wow, what an incredible post! I have very few memories of this day as well, but I remember that it scared me pretty bad that something like that could happen in our country.

Brian, Natalie, Kyrie said...

We drove through here as well, and stopped to see this memorial. I cried when we saw the statue of Christ. Beautiful pictures.

Sharee and Arthur said...

Beautiful post Jen. I didn't know very much about the Oklahoma City bombing, and I'd never seen a picture of that statue of Christ before. Made me cry.

Amy said...

Wow. That was so moving. Thanks for sharing that.