On April 19, 1995 two evil men destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in downtown Oklahoma City with a truck bomb. In so doing they took the lives of 168 innocent people including nineteen children. The victims ranged in age from three months to seventy three years.
The Journal Record building, which houses the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum is reflected in the pool. This building also contains the Institute For The Prevention Of Terrorism.
The bombing occurred at 9:02 AM. This moment of destruction is framed by two stone entrances or gates. This is the eastern gate or 9:01 gate. 9:01 AM being the last moment of innocence before the attack.
There are 168 chairs here representing 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.
168 People Killed
19 Children Killed
1 Rescuer Killed (Rebecca Anderson)
850 People Injured
85 Rescuers Suffered Minor Injuries
30 Children Orphaned
219 Children Lost at Least One Parent
462 People Left Homeless
7,000 People Left Without a Workplace
12,384 Volunteers and Rescue Workers Participated in Rescue, Recovery and Support.
387,000 Estimated number of people in Oklahoma City who knew someone killed or injured in the bombing
An American elm on the north side of the Memorial, this tree was the only shade tree in the parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building, and commuters came in to work early to get one of the shady parking spots provided by its branches. Photos of Oklahoma City taken around the time of statehood (1907) show this tree, meaning it is currently at least 102 years old. Despite its age, the tree was neglected and taken for granted prior to the blast. Heavily damaged by the bomb, the Tree ultimately survived after nearly being chopped down during the initial investigation, in order to recover evidence hanging in its branches and embedded in its bark.
The force of the blast ripped most of the branches from the Survivor Tree, glass and debris were embedded in its trunk and fire from the cars parked beneath it blackened what was left of the tree. Most thought the tree could not survive. However, almost a year after the bombing, family members, survivors and rescue workers gathered for a memorial ceremony under the tree noticed it was beginning to bloom again.
Hundreds of seeds from the Survivor Tree are planted annually and the resulting saplings are distributed each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Thousands of Survivor Trees are growing today in public and private places all over the United States; saplings were sent to Columbine High School after the massacre there, to New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and various other times.
.....A window of hope through a time of great sorrow.
I avoided visiting this memorial for several years after it opened. I was not prepared for the experience and I dreaded the dark place I feared it would take me to. After my visit I came away with a totally different experience. One of sadness yet hope. One of admiration for the spirit of man overcoming the evil of some. This image personifies my dark feeling before entering the museum.
A brighter vision and clearer view because of this message. The entire message reads "The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us." This wall surrounds the survivor tree.