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An Emotional Day at the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial – Greg and Bonnie’s RV Adventures

An Emotional Day at the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial

October 10, 2011 - 7:43 am No Comments

After a good night’s sleep, we awoke to Ed and Judy cooking breakfast out on the patio.   We had a good breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy and we enjoyed the beautiful start of the day.

We drove about an hour north to Oklahoma City to visit the museum dedicated to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVey.   The museum is in Journal Record Building, which is the building next door to the Murrah Building.  The Journal Record Building, which sustained some damage in the explosion, was left standing.  It is currently on the National Historic Register.   The museum is very well done with an exhibit that guides you from the first moments of the explosion to the aftermath.   Many survivors tell their story on video.   Family members who lost family tell their stories on video.   You experience the chaos of the first frantic minutes after the bombing through detailed artifact cases, showing shoes, glasses, car keys, etc. of the victims.   The most poignant part of the museum is the exhibit dedicated to the children in the day care center who did not survive.  It was very difficult to see this.

The outdoor symbolic memorial is excellent.  The monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction, with the East gate representing 9:01 a.m. and the west gate representing 9:03 a.m.  The reflecting pool occupies what was once Fifth Street where Timothy McVey parked the Ryder truck filled with explosives.   Each of the 168 chairs in The Field of Empty Chairs symbolizes a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed.  The field’s perimeter matches the footprint of the former Murrah Building.   It is lined by a granite path—granite that was salvaged from the Murrah Plaza.

The Survivor Tree, a 90+ year old American Elm, bears witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience.  The symbolism of the Memorial is one of the best we’ve ever seen.  On our way back to Ed’s house, Ed drove around Norman, Oklahoma, which is the home of the University of Oklahoma and Judy’s alma mater.  Ed is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and believe me, there is some real school pride in this household!!   You’ll see some examples of Ed’s granite work in the monument for James Garner, the movie star from Norman, and the maps of the city carved in the granite.   This evening, Ed got out our old high school yearbooks and we talked about all the friends from Elberton, what they are doing now, etc.

We had a wonderful day with Ed and Judy.   They are great hosts and we felt right at home.  Tomorrow we’ll drive down to Austin, Texas, to visit our youngest son, Ben, for a few days.

Stay tuned.  Bonnie

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