Saturday, April 25, 2015

May all who leave here know the impact of violence

I had a really snarky, goofy post half-written as I drove through Texas and Oklahoma today.

Then I spent two hours at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and all the sarcasm just evaporated. 

From a spectator standpoint, the museum is one of the best in which I've been. It was a very humbling experience too. I was 13 when the bombing happened, yet I don't remember it happening. I knew it did, of course; I remember talking about it, I knew who Timothy McVeigh was. But it wasn't a moment for me like 9/11 or Columbine. 

Then I heard the recording of a meeting happening in a nearby building that recorded the moment the bomb went off. I watched news footage from a chopper 15 minutes after the blast. I saw the rubble.

That Big Bird toy just hurts. Kids died -- 19, to be exact. As terrifying as traumatic events are for adults, as least we have enough life experience to make a little sense of it. Kids just hear noise, see blinding lights, feel the fire. They don't know what's happening. They're hurt and afraid -- 20 years ago in Oklahoma City, today in Nepal, every day in many parts of the world. 

The museum was full of stories of quiet heroism: workers from the Murrah Building carrying injured colleagues out; people donating blood, food, blankets, even booties for the rescue dogs; private vehicles lining up to act as ambulances. Oklahoma came together. The country came together. 

I truly hope I never find out how I'd respond to such a situation. 

Tomorrow I'll be back there -- the finish line of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Marathon is in the shadow of this monument. 

1 comment:

  1. I remember it. I walked into 10th grade Algebra after lunch and my teacher had the TV on which was really weird. Then I realized what was showing. We've been to the memorial and museum twice. It's very powerful.