~April 19, 1995~
Where were you?
Today is the 15th anniversary of the Alfred Murrah Bldg. bombing in downtown Oklahoma City. The bombing happened at 9:02 am. At that moment in time, I thought that nothing on earth would happen that could possibly be any worse than that moment in time.
The morning of the bombing, I was sitting in my office at an aerial photography and mapping firm in Tulsa near the airport. It was my first job and I'd only been there for a little over a year. I was 23 years old and had been married for less than a month.
I remember my boss, Lyn, calling into my office and asking me to try to call ODOT (Oklahoma Department of Transportation) and get a hold of the man he was talking to on the phone when the phone hung up. He had been talking with Bob Myers, our ODOT contract person and they heard something loud like an explosion in the background of the call. Lyn said that Bob Myers had commented that he thought maybe a boiler had exploded in the basement of the ODOT building. Then the line went dead. We tried and tried but the call wouldn't go through again. A few minutes later, our accountant in the office, Tricia, called over the speakerphone and told me that there was an explosion in Oklahoma City. I honestly thought it was an oil refinery explosion, since we are in Oklahoma and that's the most common explosion we hear about in oil and gas country.
We barely had the internet back in 1995 so we couldn't go to CNN.com or any other news sites. We just kept working and wondering what was going on. A little after lunchtime, my sister called from Atlanta and told me not to watch the coverage of the explosion until I got home. She said it was really bad and an entire office building had exploded. I remember thinking to myself that it must have been a natural gas explosion. It's amazing in the days of Facebook, Twitter and 24 hour news coverage that we still didn't know the magnitude of the situation and kept working like normal for the rest of the day. I do remember that our phone lines were quiet that day and we just figured that it was a slow workday. I think that might be the reason why I was so stunned when I got home and turned on the news. I had no idea that it was that horrific. My husband was at one of his last college classes that night and I was so upset, I wanted him to come home. I didn't want to be alone.
I never would have thought that someone would purposely bomb a building. And, in Oklahoma. We're the heartland of the country. I always felt lucky that I lived in a place that never had anything scary or frightening happen. This was absolutely unbelieveable.
I didn't have children then, but now that I do and know what a Momma Lion I am....it would have hit me so hard that day. Back then, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose a child like the mothers who had left their children in the daycare on the bottom floor of that building. It was unimaginable then and even more so now that I'm a Mother.
I did find out later that my cousin who is a counselor at a school in Oklahoma City counseled the boyfriend of one of the victims. He was the boyfriend of the girl who had to have a leg amputated in the rubble in order to get free. Her leg was crushed and the only way to get out was to amputate it right there on the spot. Horrific. Well, my cousin counseled the young man for a long time because he had pressured his girlfriend to go to the Social Security office in the Murrah Building to get a social security card for their young daughter. Can you even imagine the guilt he felt?
That day forever changed Oklahoma. Most people in Tulsa knew someone, somehow who was affected by the tragedy. My family has several OKC firefighters that worked for weeks on end to help in the recovery effort. I knew several people who went down to the site to help. It was the topic of discussion everyday at work for a long time.
I have to admit that I was leary of being in a large office building, especially a government office building, for a long time after that day.
It's so hard to fathom that those young babies in the daycare that day would be 15, 16, 17 years old. Teenagers. They never even got the chance to live a full life. The great things those babies could have accomplished. Even 15 years later, it makes me so sad.
May God be with their families on this sorrowful anniversary.
And to imagine that six short years later, an even more horrific tragedy would occur. I never would have believed what the future had in store for 2001.