I was just beginning to teach the first reading class of the day during my student teaching experience at Academy Elementary in Guymon, OK. I was almost five hours away from Oklahoma City, but I knew so many people who were right there. I was concerned for my friends and loved ones. I was scared. I was 22 and trying to help over 80 5th grade students deal with the fact that a large building in their state capital had just been destroyed. It was a day I would never want to relive, but it is a day that sticks with me every time I go to Oklahoma City.
I went to the site of the Murrah Building just before it was demolished in May, 1995. I saw firsthand the destruction the bombing left behind. I saw the office building where so many lives (even children and babies) were taken. I took pictures. Upon getting them developed (this was before everyone had digital cameras), I filed them in my photo album and didn't pay much attention. Now, I sometimes find myself looking back at them and wondering about the lives affected still to this day.
I went to the Memorial site in 2000. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. I especially like the tree that survived the blast and is there to help others see that life goes on.
It's hard to believe it's been 15 years, and in other ways it seems like it could have been yesterday. My thoughts and prayers today are with the families and friends of the victims of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK on April 19, 1995.
Where were you?
Photo taken September 18, 2004 by Dustin M. Ramsey