Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

The fence which still is full of memorials

The Reflecting Pool and East Wall

Field of Empty Chairs

Part of the East Wall still standing

9:01 am

9:03 am

Survivor's Tree

Damage seen on the outside of the Journal Record Building

Damage seen on inside of the building

The Children's Memorial Wall

27,000 pennies collected from school children around the country

Do you remember where you were on April 19, 1995? Seventeen years ago, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was destroyed by a car bomb at 9:02 a.m. (local time). 168 people were killed that day, 19 of them children. Most of us heard this tragic news on TV and sat glued to it or the radio wondering what in the world had happened. Seeing the pictures on the screen, none of us could imagine what the devastation was like. And it was some time before we learned that it was a terrorist attack committed by someone from our own country. Search and Rescue teams from Washington State to New York and many points in between ascended upon Oklahoma City to help with the search which went on for weeks until the building was determined too unsafe for them to continue. As the FBI began to investigate, they discovered pieces of a Ryder truck which held the bomb. The rear axle of that truck was found over 2 blocks away from the site. The Federal Building as well as many other buildings were so severely damaged they had to be torn down and the site where the building sat is now The Oklahoma City National Memorial. The street where the truck was parked has been closed and now is "The Gates of Time" with the East gate timed at 9:01 representing the innocence of the city before the attack and at the end of the block the West gate is 9:03, the moment life changed forever with the "Reflecting Pool" in between the 2 walls in the very spot the Ryder truck sat on that fateful day. Where the Murrah Building once stood is now the "Field of Empty Chairs," 168 chairs symbolizing each life lost. 19 of the chairs are smaller representing the children who lost their lives in the daycare center at the corner of the block. They sit within the perimeter of the building's original footprint and are arranged in nine rows, one for each of the nine floors and are placed according to the floor on which those killed were working or visiting. Walking on the hallowed ground there is such a sense of sadness, hollowness, and a sober feeling by everyone who visits. In front of the West Gate, memorials from families and visitors still cling to the fence installed just days after the attack, many with messages written and replaced every year. The Museum is housed in the Journal Record Building which was just across the street to the north of the Federal Building and is a chronological order of the events starting at 9 a.m.on April 19th. It also suffered severe damage which can still be seen on the outside as well as the inside. Between the 2 buildings is the "Survivor Tree" which is the only thing that survived the blast. The tree is over 100 years old and it is remarkable that it withstood the blast. There is also a "Children's Memorial Wall" on the site of the Daycare Center. On the east end of the Federal Building's remaining wall is the "Survivor Wall" of all those who survived the attack and to the west of the Survivor Tree is the "Rescuer's Orchard", planted with 3 different kinds of fruit and nut bearing trees to thank the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped in the hours, days, weeks, months and years since the attack and it is hoped those trees will help protect the 100 year old Survivor Tree from storm damage. As you are exiting the Museum there is a path of pennies on the floor that meander the hall. When asked what the pennies symbolized, we were told that school children all over the country collected 19 pennies that were sent to Oklahoma City to represent the 19 children that were lost. In all, the school children collected 27,000 pennies. Across the street an old church was partially destroyed and now in its place is a statue titled "Jesus Weeps." This is a place that should be visited by every American and is the most moving place we have ever visited. "We all 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."

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