In 1995, one huge tragic second in time tore thousands of lives apart amidst tons of steel, brick, and glass. Any Oklahoman, living here in 1995, can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the blast went off. One second in time changed our state forever. The impact of that loaded Ryder truck hit much more than it’s target. It damaged building for miles around the federal building. My parents felt and heard the impact from 45 miles away. They were supposed to be at the federal building that morning, but at the last minute decided not to take the trek downtown. I’ll thank God my whole life for leading them to their last minute decision.
For weeks, millions of people were glued to their television sets, as we wondered who on earth could viciously attack in the middle of the heartland. Day by day, the focus was on the rescue of anyone who may still have survived the mess that lay in the middle of our downtown. Eventually as time went on, we sadly watched the clean up and recovery of any thing that could identify the victims.
Our nation not only awoke to the terror that can happen in our own back yard, but saw something bigger. They saw the heart of our people bonding together in efforts to prevail over any situation…at all costs. Volunteers came for miles…not just from Oklahoma…but from states across the nation. Pride began to swell seeing the love and care we all had for our own fellow man. The determination and the organization Oklahoma showed was bar none nothing less than impressive. We stood tall and said…we will not be defeated.
When our children were killed or injured, we decided to stand up and fight back. When our loved ones were lost, we were determined to fight for them harder than any homegrown or international terrorist ever imagined. Our continued efforts to keep moving forward said that Oklahoman’s…American’s….do not roll over! We stood together in numbers to make sure the whole world knew that we are survivors…and fighters.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is now erected in rememberance to those that were killed. It’s serves to educate, all that visit, about violence … on any level… and to inspire hope. Anyone that ever travels this way should definitely stop by to visit. It’s an amazingly spiritual place. You can almost feel the whisper of those lost, whirling around you, as you pay respects.
I’ve been so impressed by the heart of our people and how they came together during the bombing tragedy. Hundreds took off work to get down town to volunteer in any way they could. When water was in short supply, businesses would show up with truck loads of bottled water. Businesses shut down business as they knew it for one thing only…to give what they could to provide anything needed for the volunteers.
Because of instances like these, major businesses wanted to move to our great state. They wanted to support us and employ the people, that showed such heart. In the last 12 years, Oklahoma’s development has exploded…our down town renovation…our construction projects…our arts community…our sports community…and many many more things to come.
For example, according to the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Website, Oklahoma City is quickly becoming recognized for its growing rowing community and world-class racing venue. The city celebrated the opening of the new $3.5 million Chesapeake Boathouse in January 2006. Located on the banks of the Oklahoma River near downtown, the Chesapeake Boathouse has been hailed as a landmark presence along the river and is a destination worth visiting in itself.
Last night I sat and watched my husband row with his corporate team at the 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival. I was watching these teams from all over the world, who flocked to our state for this event. They’re now saying they’ll use our canal for Olympic qualifying races. I watched all these beautiful boats, and I was amazed at how far this city and state have come along. It was so bitter sweet! Although happy for the national attention in things that are moving into our state, I’ve always known what a wonderful state I’ve lived in. Part of me wonders if too much attention will ruin the secret wonders of this place. For now, it’s just good to live here and see the progression of our state.
Although the Bombing was horrible and irreversible tragedy, it set all these ripples in motion. It gave the rest of the world a view of our spirit, and made them realize what a wonderful people we really are here. They saw our sense of kinship, and realized that maybe they wanted some of what we had. So they all started coming…major companies, sports, and events….right to the heartland.
This faithful friday, although a day late, just take time to be thankful for what you have and how you got to exactly where you are. Bad things happen in life, and God never promised us an easy road. The second sin entered into the world, evil started on it’s path of destruction. But as we go on our own journey, it’s important to stand tall in our faith…in our kinship with Christ. He’ll support through our own trials with us, if we only ask. And one day, just like those living in Oklahoma, you can look back and see how far He’s carried you.
Here’s a pic of my husband’s race at the regatta.