After the visit to Trinity Lutheran and meeting and visiting with Jesse, his family and the other great and giving people there, we had already decided that a trip to the museum in Oklahoma City was next on our agenda.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is located in the west end of the former journal record building that withstood the bombing on April 19, 1995. It is a must see, we were told when we announced we were going to be near Oklahoma City, we are now saying the same thing. One of the sayings on the walls of the museum is the title of this blog, a day like any other. The people who were in the federal building that day were going about their day just as each and every one of us do. Showers and breakfasts, dropping our kids off at daycare, planning our day...when the unthinkable happened. This was not a natural disaster as we had come to help the Moore OK heal from, but a man made act of terrorism. A decision by a few men changed the course of hundreds of people's lives. Words on this page cannot do justice to the museum, it is one of a kind. And as each of us walked through it taking pictures were not even an option. You hear the voices of the survivors, of parents who lost children, of rescue workers. To snap pictures seem irralavent to the experience. And what would you do with random pictures without those stories? In addition to the inside, the experience continues on the outside, called the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial, is a special place. Among the must sees: the Field of Empty Chairs, 168 chairs that symbolize the lives lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed; the Survivor Tree, a 90+ year old American Elm that bore witness to the violence of that day, and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience. There is a place where children who visit can draw, writing messages in chalk. The Fence, which was installed to protect the site of the Murrah building, where since the moment it went up people left and are still leaving mommentoes and messages to the victims of that day. As you walk through the entire memorial and museum you are reminded how senseless violence in any form is, how evil exists right before our eyes.
On a wall here, a plague there, there are words of encouragement to visitors. Among those, the words that greets visitors near the Survivor Tree: The spirit of this this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us. And so it does, and so it will.