For years, I have wanted to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. My youngest son had been there and was immensely touched by this. Therefore, I determined this assignment would be the perfect opportunity for me to visit and in turn write about it.
Immediately, in all honesty, I understood that this memorial and museum were a dedication of peace and hope that will change you forever.
The museum is a place of amazing transformation that offers a unique insight of the events that took place on April 19, 1995. As you enter it states, “Just like communities everywhere, it is the start of a day like any other day”, but as you proceed, the story of that day is revealed gallery by gallery showing you that it was not an ordinary day.
As you approach the end of the third floor, which is where the tour begins, you are greeted by Gus, a man full of knowledge of the events that took place that day. He explains that we are about to hear an actual audio recording of a water board hearing that was held across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on the morning of the bombing. We are ushered into a room where the audio is playing, approximately two minutes into the hearing; you hear a loud explosion followed by panicked shouting as the faces of the 168 victims killed that day are displayed on the screen. So it is said that this is the only recording of what it sounded like when Timothy McVeigh’s rented Ryder truck bomb exploded, leaving the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building annihilated. The audio delivers an emotional blow that makes you think twice about entering through the doors opening into the next gallery where screens replay the first video images of the chaos taking place and actual recordings of 911 calls.
As you proceed, the museum kiosks are randomly positioned to take you back to the mystification in the first moments of the blast. Displays are set up throughout with artifacts that reveal details of the news coverage around the world, clocks stopped at 9:02 a.m., piles of car keys and pieces of crumbled concrete.
Many desperate measures were taken and performed on this horrific day, but the specific one that will forever be in my memory was performed by Dr. Andy Sullivan who amputates Daina Bradley’s leg, from the knee down, sequentially to emancipate her from the rubble and save her life. To add agony to misery, he executed this ungodly measure with a pocket knife, steel scalpel and a nylon traction rope, used for a tourniquet, subsequent to his emergency tools failing. This is just one of the many heroic accomplishments that took place during this devastating April day.
Exhibits continue to take you through survivor experiences, world reactions, rescues and recoveries, the funerals, the crime scene investigation and the case against Timothy McVeigh. Futhermore, there is a small office area that displays the actual aftermath of the bombing: collapsed interior...