Timothy’s hands were trembling, but resolved as he completed
the last step to his plan. He calmly
walked away from a delivery truck as its cab filled with smoke coming from the
end of a burning fuse.
The downtown traffic was gradually beginning to subside
after the morning rush hour. Coffee mugs
were finding their familiar places on corners of desks. Computers hummed in unison as the users typed
in passwords and hit the “Enter” keys.
Phones began to ring with morning wakeup calls for employees. Downstairs muted giggles filtered into the
Those familiar sounds came to a horrific stop when the force
equivalent to three tons of dynamite exploded and became the second shot heard
around the world.
Oklahoma City would never be the same. America would never be the same. The lives of one hundred sixty-eight
families, including those of parents who had just kissed the soft cheeks of
their precious little ones, would never be the same. The only life that seemed untouched was that
of Timothy McVeigh, at least for now.
What was once a federal office building filled with FBI
agents and other employees, local citizens, and a day care center was now a
gaping hole in the Heartland. Electrical
cables hung like spaghetti, and roofing materials waved like shredded curtains
hung from melted and twisted iron.
Shards of glass exploded and penetrated unsuspecting bystanders.
Television screens around the world carried the
indescribable wreckage and carnage brought to the Bible Belt by hatred of the
most demonic proportion.
Timothy may have calculated the required amount of explosive
ingredients, the best time of the day to destroy the most lives, and the
deadliest available parking place in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building, but there was one calculation he missed completely. He could never have comprehended what would
become the “Oklahoma Standard”.
Volunteerism had its finest moments in the aftermath of the
explosion. Lines formed across the state
with people who waited hours to donate blood.
Rescue workers from around the state, the nation, and the globe arrived
daily for weeks. Specially trained dogs
became heroes. Every conceivable need
for the rescue and recovery teams was donated, mostly by Oklahomans.
* * * *
Fifteen years later, in the shadow of The Survivor Tree, a
gentle breeze barely skims the still water in the Reflecting Pool. As the sun sets, the soft lights beneath the
glass chairs begin to glow. Each chair
has been strategically placed and named to correspond with the deceased’s final
place in and around the nine-story building.
They provide a tangible area where one can rest, place flowers, and even
kneel in their quest for comfort and understanding.
Twin bronze gates stand majestically at each end of the
memorial, one engraved with 9:01 AM, the other with 9:03 AM. An inscription on the outside of each gate
“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who
survived and those changed forever. May
all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength,
peace, hope and serenity.”
The peaceful setting that replaced the remains of terrorism
speaks to moving on, but never forgetting.
Visitors still leave gifts in a 200-foot remnant of chain link fence
that will forever be available for special touches of kindness and remembrance.
In a place as far away as Israel, a large painted mural of a
firefighter tenderly looking into the quiet face of the child he is carrying
covers the side of a concrete building, an image of an incredible moment in
The web page that hosts the site of the Oklahoma City
National Memorial now shines with smiling faces of over comers and their
stories of restored and victorious lives.
They choose to face each new day in the light of a different kind of
Oklahomans have shown extraordinary resilience through the
rough-and-tumble days of the Land Rush, early statehood, the Dust Bowl coupled
with the Great Depression, two world wars, and an oil boom that turned into a
bust. April 19, 1995 was our biggest
“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be
defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us” is inscribed near The Survivor
Out of the rubble came strength and greatness. A state engulfed in mourning but enmeshed in
faith as she watches in anticipation for the arrival of the Prince of Peace Who
will, once and for all, end the touch of terror.
I am a student of Christian writing. A Softer Voice is the classroom; the Bible, my textbook. The King of Kings is the Instructor. John 13:13 says "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am."
The curriculum? "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 13:18.
I have a mentor in my husband, Bud. He is also my love, my best friend and my hero, and we have been married for 42 years. I am Mom to two beautiful daughters. Our four grandsons and one granddaughter are blessed with terrific dads in our sons-in-law.
My lifetime assignment: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6
A Softer Voice (the book) is now available in print or as an ebook at Friesen Press (www.friesenpress.com), Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.