We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.
Oklahoma National Memorial Museum
On the morning of April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a rented truck filled with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. At 9:02am a massive explosion occurred which sheared off the entire north side of the building, killing 168 people. This site is now a peaceful, thoughtful national memorial, full of symbolism. Walls on each side of the reflection pool mark the minute before and the minute after the bombing.
One tall black wall is inscribed with 9:01, representing the minute before the bomb went off. Opposite this wall and across a shallow reflection pond is a similar wall with the time 9:03 on it, symbolizing the minute after the bomb went off and marking the time the Oklahoma residents and the nation were changed forever.
168 Empty Chairs
Between these two black walls are 168 chairs representing the people killed in the explosion. These empty chairs are aligned in nine rows, corresponding to the nine floors of the Murrah Federal Building. The smaller chairs represent the children killed. All of the glass chairs are illuminated in light, rays of hope shining in the night.
Inside the Museum
The museum begins by entering into a room with an empty desk with a tape recorder on it, the doors behind you close. For the next minute you listen to the actual recording of this typical government agency, located across the street, discussing water rights. The meeting began promptly at 9:00am. A minute into the meeting we hear the bomb blast and the screaming that ensued. Behind the desk an entire wall lights up with photos of the 168 victims who were then dead. The doors then open to the museum where you hear interviews with rescue workers and the policeman who arrested Timothy McVeigh within an hour of the bombing, for having no license plate on his car and carrying a pistol.
Timothy McVeigh is Captured
Timothy McVeigh put up no resistance and was trying to be helpful to the policeman, informing him that his pistol was loaded. The cop, with his pistol pressing at the back of McVeigh’s neck replied, “So is mine.”
This senseless violence could have happened anywhere in the USA. Oklahoma has turned this terrible day into a quiet, thoughtful memorial to those murdered that day…..
National tragedies seem to bring our nation together, but only temporarily. Nearing the 22 anniversary of this horrific act our nation seems more divided than ever.