During our recent trip to OKC, on the itinerary was a trip to the Oklahoma City Memorial. If you’ll recall, I once wrote an extensive graduate paper on terrorism. My field of study. The paper was submitted electronically and earned me a lot of attention. By attention I mean it was embargoed by the federal government and multiple three-letter agencies, never returned to either my professor or self, and I was investigated. On the bright side, I got an A before my professor ever received it and the joke is it ended up on (then) President Obama’s desk. Anyway… I’ve always wanted to visit.
Not only is it a uniquely designed memorial, but also a touching testimony to survivors and the families of those lost. No matter what damage was done that day, people all over the world have an opportunity to pay their respects. Photos online do not begin to compare to the solemn reverence of this memorial. Mini was intrigued by the chairs – big for adults, small for children.
I wasn’t prepared for the emotions to overwhelm me. I really had no reason to not be able to speak around my tears – at the time, we lived hundreds of miles away. Yet watching it on television in 1995 (I was 9 yrs old) is an engraved photo in my mind, but it does nothing to prep your heart for the magnitude of 168 lives needlessly lost. 168. Many other tragedies since easily surpass that number. But it’s people. And no number of people killed due to acts of terrorism is acceptable.
Again, the photos here do no justice to the emotional journey of looking at mementos left on the fence once used to guard the damaged building after it was bombed. Or how it feels to touch the granite wall of children’s hand prints created by children from multiple states in response to hearing of the children whom would never come home. My collegiate career focused on the acts themselves, the mindset of the guilty, the way it has played into future events; my publications didn’t address the emotions or the very real loss. Interestingly, this is common in people who study subjects considered unempathetic, like child abuse, law enforcement, or terrorism. There’s a switch that must be deactivated. I can’t imagine what it must be like to visit the 9/11 Memorial.
All this being said, hug your kids tighter, say a few extra I love you’s, and visit places you’ve always wanted to see. As I get older, I’m appreciating history more and more. Probably because I know one day we all will be history ourselves.
I ask you –
Have you been to the OKC Memorial or 9/11 Memorial?
What’s the chance this very post will be flagged before publication? Listen, I don’t have time to plead my case.
Name a place you’d like to visit.
9 thoughts on “A Day in History”
Wow! “By attention I mean it was embargoed by the federal government and multiple three-letter agencies”
I’ve been to to the 9/11 Memorial once about 15 years after it was opened. Although I was not in the NYC when 9/11 happened (I moved to NYC about 10 mths after 9/11), it took me a while to gain the courage (not sure if courage is the right word) to visit.
LOL because every now and then when I’m really far downtown (near the Freedom Tower), someone will ask me Do you know the way to 9/11? I do an internal chuckle bc I know they mean the 9/11 Memorial instead of the date.
I’d love to visit Seychelles.
I hadn’t thought to ask you until now if you had visited, even though I know you live in NYC. Courage is a great word. Fortitude also comes to mind.
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It kind of felt weird visit because the momenent is pretty close to the site. I remember there was a lot of angry exchanges between NYC and the victims’ family because of where the memorial site was going to be placed.
Oh, I hadn’t heard any of that. What was the issue?
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There were concerns about where to place the tower and the memorial out of respect for the victims. Understandably, members of the victims’ families did not want the city the rebuild directly on the site.
I see now. Thank you for the information.
Seychelles would be so amazing!
My son was less than 2 WEEKS, born 6.5 weeks premature after 11 weeks of struggling to remain pregnant.
My thoughts were of profound sadness from the magnitude of the tragedy followed by the thoughts of, what kind of a world 🌎 did I just bring this defenseless baby boy into.
Investigated – that must have been a trip. I am glad that you are able to laugh about it now. Thank you for sharing, this is on my bucket list as well.
Thank you for sharing your story! I’m sure you’ve had further moments of wondering what kind of world we live in and have brought our children into.