I Went to the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial for Memorial Day [Pictures, Video]
As I drove back from my weekend at Rocklahoma yesterday I made a planned stop in Oklahoma City. I stopped at the Oklahoma National Memorial, the site of the 1995 bombing.
I was only passing through and didn't have time to do the museum, although that is now on my list of places to see too. But I was able to spend a brief, but stirring, short time at the memorial. Here are some of the facts I learned. If you look at the accompanying pictures you can see what I'm talking about.
1. There are 2 "gates". The 9:01 gate on the east side, which is 1 minute before the bombing when the world was still peaceful. And the 9:03 gate on the west side which symbolizes the minute after the bombing when people quickly began the healing effort from this tragedy as they began a monumental rescue effort.
2. There is only 1 piece of the original Murrah building that still stands, in a corner by the 9:01 Gate.
3. The grassy area with the chairs is the footprint of the building as it stood until April 19th, 1995.
4. There are 9 rows of chairs resembling the 9 floors of the building. 168 chairs in total mark the ground in those 9 rows. Some chairs are large for adults, and others are small for the children who died.
5. The chairs are placed in the areas of the building that fell from the original blast zone. There are areas of grass where parts of the building remained standing, until the demolition.
6. Across the reflecting pool is the "Survivor Tree". The large Oak tree is over 100 years old, and was originally in an early inhabitant of Oklahoma City's backyard. The tree sustained major damage from the blast including massive fire damage and even glass embedded into the trunk and branches. The tree was able to be saved, and lives on today.
7. the reflecting pool was originally a street that ran through the area, and the street that the truck was parked on when it was left shortly before the explosion.
8. The buildings across the street were completely destroyed by the blast, and the area is also part of the memorial site today. Past that area of the park sits the museum. The wall of the museum facing the memorial site was also heavily damaged by the blast and has multiple scars that are clearly visible to this day.
And here's a brief video I took to get the entire reflecting pool and museum into one shot.