Tuesday, 5/31/11 - Finally, the wind has stopped blowing at 25 miles per hour and it feels very normal here. It's seems like a beautiful day and we are off to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/ Our wonderful GPS takes us right to it and we are able to park across the street in a parking garage.
They have done a magnificent job on this tragedy that happened April 19, 1995 at 9:02 a.m. The grounds consist of the museum building, (which you enter first) and it creates the experience of the entire story of the bombing. The exhibit starts on the third floor and as you enter that floor it is shortly before 9 am that morning. You then experience, as you walk through, what happened and the incredible horror of that day. The faces and voices of the injured telling their story. The families searching for the children that were in the daycare center - you feel like your there at the time.
The second floor takes you through a gallery of pictures, the funerals and mourning, the impact and then the investigation, the capture of the two men responsible, the trial and then the hope for the future.
As you exit the building you are now at the reflecting pool. There are two magnificent gates at each end, the East gate is marked 9:01 on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West gate is marked 9:03, the moment they were changed forever. Behind the pond are the field of 168 empty chairs, symbolizing a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed. Also in this area is The Survivor Tree, a 90+year old American Elm, that witnessed the violence of April 19 and survived. The message at the tree reads: The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us. A truly magnificent memorial.
After this, we needed to lighten up our spirit so headed to Bricktown, which is located on Mickey Mantle Drive, in the old downtown area that has lot of old brick warehouses that have been turned into restaurants, business and a beautiful triple A baseball park. http://www.redhawks.com/ (You get the feeling that THIS is what Fresno wants to be) We had lunch at Coaches, a restaurant that looks out over the baseball field. Great pictures and memorabilia of Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and other athletes from Oklahoma City. My camera was clicking away.
After lunch, we took a ride on the narrated water taxi that runs in a canal through Bricktown (didn't Fresno want to do that at one time?) http://www.bricktownwatertaxi.com/ It was a great ride and tour and when we got out we walked back to see Toby Keith's bar - I Love That Bar. Unfortunately, my camera battery died right at that point so no pictures. Oh well, I'm sure I'll find another one on this trip. It was a great sightseeing day and when we returned home, a giant load of washing was awaiting me, so I just sucked it up and did it. Much love to all our family and friends.