As we approach the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, I’m always reminded of several different times in my life. On April 19th, 1995, I was a freshman in high school. I lived in Texas and seemingly was far removed from what happened.
My brother, however, lived here in OKC. His first daughter had just been born and she was about a month old. He was going to school in Edmond. I also had an uncle who worked in the downtown OKC area. I remember hearing about the explosion in my 9th grade history class, it was second period, and my first thought was about my family that lived in the Oklahoma City area. I found out that they were all okay. I remember watching the news stories at home – seeing all the horror. It was all that was on TV. I didn’t understand it, and it didn’t seem to directly affect me. As a teenager, you can tell when something is significant, but sometimes it’s hard to tell why if it doesn’t directly affect you.
Fast forward many years later. I was in my senior year in college, which I attended in Oklahoma, and I worked for Federal Employees Credit Union. It was the credit union that had originally been in the Murrah building. I had no idea until working there a while, that I worked with people that had been in the bombing. I worked with one lady who told me that she worked at a desk with her back to the wall. On the other side of the wall, another lady worked sitting with her back to the wall. When the bomb went off, the wall was gone, and behind my coworker was a big hole. It always amazes me, in any disaster of the random selection. Like the tornadoes that go through with one house standing untouched in a field of demolished houses.
It’s always interesting to hear the stories and see the way that good has worked through the face of tragedy. The stories of survival are amazing. They always make me question my strength. Would I be strong enough to make it? Would I have what it takes to turn something so tragic into something positive? Could I even have the strength to give of myself and help in the face of such a tragedy? When people use the phrase, “Oklahoma Strong”, it is based on more than just dealing with hard weather. It is an attitude of the people here to make it through anything, to help each other, to help themselves, to be a light in a world of darkness.