Tuesday, May 24 – Well, they say full-timers make plans in Jello, it sure is a “happening thing” for us trying to see the NCAA Women's Softball Tournament. We had planned to pull out and head for Stillwater, OK to see the Super Regional games this coming weekend. Paul got a newspaper this morning and spotted this notice: Oklahoma State Super Regional are sold out. Only tickets remaining are standing room only and can be purchased for $30 by calling...... Well, cross that off the list!
The World Series here in OKC is advertising no available parking at the field and tickets are hard to obtain. So I guess we'll finish are sightseeing here in OKC and head south. Since we wouldn't be going to the games, we did start our day of touring by visiting the ASA Softball facilities....the site of the Women's World Series. A pretty amazing softball field. Crews were getting the field ready for the NCAA games and were assembling additional bleachers beyond the fences in the outfields.
We had an interesting change of pace today.....TORNADO DODGING!!! We were lucky and only got a little wind and heavy rain, but the Oklahoma City area was surrounded by at least three tornadoes.
The sirens went off, so we pulled in our MH slides, grabbed Bella (our cat) and our emergency bag that contains important papers and headed to the designated storm shelter....the bath house. We set up a pecking order....people with dogs in the women's restroom and people with cats in the men's room. It goes without saying that the “cat house” was much quieter. (sorry to all our readers with dogs, but they don't like all the noise from thunder and lightning).
Where Marsha got to stay with Bella.
After about an hour, the all clear signal was given and we headed back to our homes and a peaceful evening. The sun even came out for a while before nightfall.
Calm after the storm. You can see the wind is still blowing pretty good.
Monday, we visited to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. What an amazing place! The memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood preserving forever the place and events that changed the world.
It was on that day that Timothy McViegh and Terry Nichols, American militia movement sympathizers, motivated by their hatred of the Federal Government and angered by the Waco, TX siege and Ruby Ridge incident exploded a truck bomb blowing up the building.
The twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02. The East Gate represents 9:01 on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03, the moment we were changed forever.
The reflecting pool occupies what was once NW Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water soothes one, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts.
To the south of the reflecting pool is a field of empty chairs.
Each of the 168 chairs symbolize a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed.
Arranged in 9 rows, one for each of the nine floors of the building, they are placed according to the floor on which those killed were working or visiting. Each bronze and stone chair rests on a glass base etched with the name of a victim.
By day, the chairs seem to float above their bases. By night, the glass bases illuminate as beacons of hope. 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.
Interestingly, the Plaza or porch and stair case leading up the the former Murrah Building still stand. It's moving to walk up these stairs to what was once the entrance to the building and look out over the memorial. Very moving!
The Survivor Tree is a 90+ year old American Elm standing to the North of the former building. It bears witness to the violence of April 19 and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience. Many of the victims' families took strength from observing how this tree survived the awful blast that destroyed the Murrah Building.
A rescue worker originally painted the message on this wall during search and recovery efforts on April 1995. The building on which it is painted was a functioning office building when the bomb exploded across the street. ceilings collapsed, walls fell in and glass shards flew throughout the building. Hundreds of people were injured, many critically. Fortunately, no one was killed inside this building.
We returned at night. It was a moving and surreal experience.
Survivor Tree. Look at the reflection in the pool.
On a corner adjacent to the memorial is St. Joseph's Old Cathedral. St. Joseph's, one of the first brick and mortar churches in the city, was almost completely destroyed by the blast.
This church was heavily damaged in the explosion and has been rebuilt to its former glory. We tried to enter the church but all the doors were locked. As we walked away, we heard a man yell, "Hey sir." We waited until he caught up to us and learned that he was the custodian. He let us in, told us to take our time looking around and locked us in. Amazing…he trusted us. He also shared many stories from the day of the bombing.
Its beautiful stain glass windows have been replaced and the amazing interior have been restored beautifully.
"And Jesus Wept" statue behind St. Joseph Old Cathedral stands a shrine in remembrance of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The focal point of the shrine is a statue of Jesus who faces away from the tragic sight; He holds His face in His hands in sorrow.
Jesus is sounded by at a wall with 168 voids. Each void represents a life lost in the bombing. Behind the statue of Jesus are pillars, a symbolic reminder of the Murrah Building. Jesus appears in utter anguish. The biblical verses....”and He wept,” is inscribed in the base. Very moving!
It takes on a different feeling from day to night.
This Memorial is another “MUST SEE” tourist sight when passing through the state of Oklahoma. It is worth going out of your way to add this to your itinerary.
We did not visit the Museum. We both were too emotional after experiencing the Memorial and Church. Outside the Museum is another wall. Children were a significant part of the worldwide response. These children responded with words of encouragement and messages of hope. Thousands of ceramic tiles were sent to Oklahoma in 1995.
This was our favorites.
People still leave mementos on the fence that was erected in 1995.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll again real soon. Have a great day!