9:02am is now permanently stuck in my memory. After a recent trip through Oklahoma City, I had an opportunity for some sight-seeing after the work day was done, so my colleague and I stopped at the first place that came to mind â€“ the site of the Oklahoma City bombing some 16 years ago.
It was a powerful memorial, and while I had always abstractly knew of the tragedy surrounding the events of OKC on that fateful day, seeing the memorial was quite a somber experience. The site now consists of two walls, one oat each end of an infinity pool, and the marker on each wall with the time-stamp of 9:01 and 9:03, signifying the moment before and after the explosion. The infinity pool represents the moment frozen in time.
In each wall, along with the time-stamp, is an opening leading to the skies beyond with light pouring through. With evident symbolism, it was a quiet place where people come to pay their respects to the victims and to remember family and loved ones. One gentleman I spoke with said that he comes to the site every day to remind him.
The other notable feature of the site is a series of high-backed chairs to the south side of the infinity pool. With nearly 200 chairs in the chained-off area, there is one chair for each victim. Taller chairs represented adults, and smaller chairs for children. There were a lot of shorter chairs. The whole scene was quite a bit to take in, and I had not expected such a rush of emotion after a day of training. We left quietly, remembering the day anew. Yet the residents and surviving friends and families likely remember every single day. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those people.
Here are a few of the photos I was able to muster from the experience: