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I Remember...

posted 4/18/2010 7:20:53 PM |
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tagged: life, news, people, memorial

I Remember...

I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was April 19, 1995.

It was a beautiful sunshiny spring day…the kind of day that has the potential to be a really great day.

I was not supposed to be where I was on this particular day. I was supposed to be downtown…across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Building. For some reason…I’m not sure why…I changed my appointment time to another day. This action on my part proved to be a lifesaver.

When the bomb exploded at 9:02 a.m., I was standing in a small outdoor parking lot. I heard the noise in the distance and felt the ground vibrate, but I did not know what it was at the time. The chaos had yet to begin. I drove to the other side of the hospital campus to attend a business meeting and while I was walking through the hospital emergency room, I noticed a crowd gathered around the waiting room television.

I had one of those moments…you know the kind…where I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Surely this could not be happening in downtown Oklahoma City. I was so wrong.

The day was a blur. I alternated between disbelief, anger and extreme sadness. My staff wanted to go home and be with their families, so I closed our office by noon that day and sent everyone home. Hell…I wanted to go home!

I then tried to call my son’s school and could not get through. This was a problem many experienced that day as most of the circuits were busy. I ended up driving to my son’s school in the early afternoon and had to park three blocks away because I was not the only parent who wanted to pick their child up early that day.

When I finally reached the school, I was immediately approached by the school secretary who my son had bonded with over the last couple of years. She was the kind soul who would give him his afternoon medication after the school nurse had left for the day. She embraced me and said with tears in her eyes that she was so happy to see me. And proceeded to explain how my son had been quite upset because he was convinced I had a meeting downtown that morning. I told her that I moved the appointment a few days ago. She squeezed my hand and told me I had an outstanding guardian angel. I smiled and agreed with her.

As I walked down to my son’s classroom, I realized that no learning was happening today. The kids were too upset…my son included. My son saw me immediately and ran to my side. He grabbed my hand and told me how happy he was to see me. I had no words at that moment…just raw emotion…so I hugged him tightly. I then took his hand and we walked hand-in-hand all the way back to my car.

The days and weeks that followed proved to be brutal. Our community rallied together in our grief. Instead of succumbing to our pain and sorrow…we became a stronger and more unified city.

I remember attending 17 different funerals and I cried at every single one of them. I cried because of their lives being cut short…I cried because they didn’t get to realize all their dreams…and I cried because they didn’t get to say goodbye. I think that was the hardest for all the loved ones they left behind.

I’m not one to dwell on the past, but this tragedy was a hard pill to swallow. To this day, I try not talk about it...or to remember the feelings I felt during that particular April. Not because I want to forget…but because my pain is still so raw…even 15 years later.

One of these days, I’m determined to have the fortitude to walk into the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Until that day comes, I will journey to the reflection pool…gaze at the field of chairs that represent the victims who lost their lives that day…and sit quietly under the survivor tree…A tree that withstood the full force of the attack…even when everything else in that lot did not.

I remember.

I will always remember.

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post a comment!


Apr 18 @ 7:38PM  
A kudo for their memory....

Apr 18 @ 7:43PM  
This is a very nice touching blog. I do believe in guardian angels, and I do feel that your guardian angel was looking out for you that day. I would like to be able to go visit that memorial some day in person.

Apr 18 @ 7:50PM  
Very well written... and demonstrates what a wonderful human being you are and how fortunate your son is to have you as his mom.

On September 9th, 2001, my husband and I attend his daughter's wedding in a pastoral place just outside of Washington, D.C. We were staying in a hotel in Dupont Circle. We returned to San Antonio, Texas on the 10th only to awaken the morning of the 11th to witness the tragedy of the Twin Towers in NYC blazing and ultimately crumbling while the Pentagon was atacked and another place crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The following day we received phone call after phone call from our daughter's friends from eastern Europe and the UK who had attended her wedding and were staying in their Dupont Circle home before they returned overseas.

These people are wonderful people and remain a part of our extended family. On 9.11 their world crumbled a ours did, yet for them it was coupled with deep-seated fear because of the color of their skin, their culture and how our nation was reacting to the unthinkable. They were running out of money and didn't know when they would be able to return to their homes. We did what we could... explained that they needed to be very careful, remain off the streets as much as possible, maintain contact with us and let us contact their families to let them know they were OK.

To this day and until I die I will never forget that horrific day, but what I will remember most is the gratitude of these young people for our simple offerings of assistance, the overwhelming gratitude of their families and how much closer we became in sharing the tragedy... their hearts and homes remain open to me to this day and into the future. While there is anger and dismay surrounding this life altering, national experience, there is a deeper understanding, appreciation and abiding respect we share with these people... people we have come to love.

This is what I remember and treasure most... and wish others could experience. Nothing will change the lives lost and families forever changed by this evil deed, yet because of it some good was created.


Apr 18 @ 7:51PM  
oops... forgot a very well deserved greenie.

Apr 18 @ 8:11PM  
WOW! What a blog KItKat!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! What an incredible yet sad event to experience and survive! I'm glad you are here today to tell us about it!!

Apr 18 @ 8:14PM  
Very well written.

I lost friends in the 9/11 attack. I used to babysit two of the firefighters for my neighbor when they were kids. Another daughter of a former neighbor worked there. None of them made it out that day. One day I hope to go up there and visit the site. Although it will feel strange not to see the buildings. I used to go through them at least a coule of times every week when I lived up there. Attacks like that no matter if they are domestic or foreign in nature take more than just the lives of the victims.

A greenie for you.

Apr 18 @ 8:16PM  
sad to say the united states government does have tons of enemies, foreign
and domestic. and the strategies and operations against them often
are foiled by the operations of the enemies foreign and domestic, sad to say.

Apr 18 @ 8:35PM  
I don't thing that things really resonate unless you personally experience them. Then your life is forever changed. Very good touching blog.

Apr 18 @ 8:59PM  
I have nothing pithy or witty or even comforting to say.. just gonna hand a green nut over and wipe a

Apr 18 @ 10:10PM  
I used to live and work in Oklahoma City. I have been to the Reflecting Pool a number of times, and have been thru the Memorial and Museum twice. It if VERY profound. I took my new wife there shortly after we married, and she was in tears the entire tour.

I worked with a number of people that had lost family or friends, and some of them would just break down in tears at the least memory.

Apr 18 @ 10:19PM  
kudo's my friend.
when mama_taz and myself first got together I was in a lot of debt left from my ex wife and we really struggled to make ends meet at first, 18 mths later I finally saved enough to take her and her kids away on a weekend holiday to Port Arthur, here in Tasmania. its a wonderful old historic site from the pioneering convict days with many a lost sole still wandering the ruins at night.
almost 12 mths later , to the day.. I hear on the news that a lone gunman had decided to stage a massacre in the very same spot. a lot of men, women and even children lost their lives that day, all for reletively nothing.
it made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end when I realised, that could have been us there.
things like that do change your life and have a lasting effect on you.

Apr 18 @ 11:34PM  
Big ol' Bear Hug for you

Apr 19 @ 12:48AM  
When will people ever stop treating each other so horribly over such insignificant things?

Apr 19 @ 9:42AM  
This a very interesting and, to me, very disturbing story that is related.

Apr 19 @ 10:01AM  
Bruce, don't bring politics into this blog. If anything the group did was wrong was protest so close to the anniversary of this tragedy. IMO

Another Oklahoma City story


Apr 19 @ 12:05PM  
In peaking in off and on to view the news of the day, I am very surprised and disappointed that this anniversary gets little to mention. Even on the Fox News site, it is practically invisible.

Apr 19 @ 2:41PM  

Apr 19 @ 10:26PM  
I watched some live memorial on this earlier tonight. It was very very nice, and makes me even more want to go visit those memorial. They honestly had really pretty memorials built to honor those people that lost their lives in this tragedy. This was very touching late this afternoon watching this.

Apr 20 @ 12:36AM  
Very beautifully written..........Hugs and kudos.

Apr 20 @ 8:17AM  
Wow, intense blog. Really, really touching. Greenie.

Apr 19 @ 9:28PM  
I saw some of the memorial on tv today, Kat!

It was very touching.

Apr 19 @ 10:29PM  
Leaving a greenie. I am so glad you changed that appointment that day Kit.

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I Remember...