I had theopportunity to visit the remarkable memorial, and the first things that caught myeye were the large golden Gates of Time standing at either end of the site. Onthe outside top of each wall the words, "We come here to remember those whowere killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave hereknow the impact of violence," are etched into the copper. On the inside, oneof the twin gates has 9:01 at its top and the other has 9:03. Between the two isa large, shallow reflecting pool which represents the time when the bombingactually occurred: 9:02 a.m.
After gazing into the pool, I decided towalk to the 168 chairs that represent those who died. Although the entirememorial is a very emotional place, the nine rows of chairs are probably the moststriking aspect. The seats of bronze and stone rest on glass bases with the nameof a victim etched into each one. As I examined them, I noticed the shorterchairs honor the 19 children and the taller ones honor the adults who werekilled. The chairs are arranged according to the floor where the people were atthe time of the attack. I still cannot get over the flowers, letters, ribbons andstuffed animals that adorned many of the seats.
The next area of thememorial I visited was the Survivor Tree. The luscious American Elm stands at thewest end and is surrounded by a large rock and concrete wall. Through all theturmoil, it is amazing that this tree survived.
Several other sites havebeen erected to honor not only the victims but also the paramedics and rescuesquads who came from near and far to lend a helping hand. One is the Rescuers'Orchard, which contains a number of fruit- and flower-bearing trees around theSurvivor Tree. Another site is the Children's Area, with its wall of hand-paintedtiles sent to Oklahoma City by caring children. There are also severalchalkboards where visitors can sign their names or draw pictures to expressthemselves.
It is amazing the impact April 19, 1995 has had on not only myhome state but also the entire United States. After six years, victims and theirfamilies have begun to heal and the memorial is a very honorable place. It isunreal how much more unified our state has become since the bombing, but it isterrible that something so tragic and deadly had to be the cause.
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