October 17, 2011

10/12/11 - Oklahoma City NM

The Oklahoma City National Memorial was a hard one to visit; it’ll probably be hard to write about too.  My cousin Emilee who lives in nearby Norman said they’ve never gone.
Although the memorial was established as a unit of the National Park Service in 1997, it was de-authorized by Congress in 2004.  It’s now an affiliate of the National Park System, and is operated by a private foundation.  Park Rangers outside; foundation employees inside. Who knew?
Where the Federal Building stood is an Outdoor Symbolic Memorial.  You walk through the Gates of Time, past the Field of Empty Chairs, Reflecting Pool and Survivor Wall.  

The Memorial Museum is in a building that was across the street from the Murrah Building.  Inside is what they call “an interactive learning experience”, which takes you through a chronological tour of that day in April, 1995.  It’s very well done, but highly emotional. 
It starts with a history of terrorism, then a history of the site.  You then go into a room and sit down.  There was a water resources hearing taking place in that room, and you listen to the beginnings of the meeting.  Two minutes later, you hear the explosion on the recording.  The doors at the end of room open, and you walk into chaos.  There are TV newscasts going on.

You go from exhibit to exhibit, sometimes reading the information or displays, sometimes fighting back tears. 
I started skipping sections.  I couldn't go into the Gallery of Honor at all.
At one point, George looked out the window but couldn’t see our truck.  There had been some “No Parking” signs nearby, but they were turned sideways.  I told him I’d go down with him to check.  An hour was enough.
We’d both had enough raw emotion for the day. 

Click the link for more pictures.  Oklahoma City NM

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