Remembering the horror, 20 Years After the Oklahoma City Bombing
It was 20 years ago this weekend (Sunday, to be exact) that my world was rocked to its very foundation and changed for ever. At exactly 9:02 am on April 19th, 1995 an evil like no other was unleash on 168 unsuspecting people in downtown Oklahoma City and it also changed the lives of an entire city and state. It is one of those moments that I will never forget as long as I live and still remember where I was and what I was doing, like it was yesterday.
Timothy McVeigh, for whatever reason decided to load a Ryder rental truck with barrels full of a ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel (racing fuel is what is believed to be what he used) mixture. During the months of investigation that followed it was discovered that McVeigh and a number of accomplices made several trips to Oklahoma City to scout out the best possible location for parking the truck.
So, on that fateful spring morning here in Oklahoma, my day began like so many others after moving here just a couple years earlier. I was sitting in the building with several co-workers in the front area of the building and then it happened. We all heard a huge boom that rocked both of our overhead doors in the back of the building. None of knew what happened, but my first thought was one of our big air compressors blew up.
A couple of us walked back to the warehouse/repair area and found nothing amiss inside. Then we decided to go outside and see if something hit the building and saw nothing that could explain it at first. That is until we all looked to east and saw a large plume of smoke rising above the skyline of downtown Oklahoma City. Our office was located in an industrial park just south of Interstate 40 and 7 miles west of downtown OKC. The 1-40 crosstown as it is commonly called here in Oklahoma, cuts right through the heart of Oklahoma City, adjacent to downtown.
Shortly after that someone from another part of the building came running in telling us of an explosion downtown. The first news reports said it was thought to be a natural gas explosion. While it is highly likely it could have been, but nothing prepared any of us for what we all found out to be the eventual cause of the explosion and where it happened. What followed in the minutes, hours, days, months and now years after 9:02 am on April 19th, 1995 will be forever burned into my mind.
I can remember vividly the news accounts of the carnage caused by the massive bomb, it ripped through nine floors of the Murrah Federal Building and left only a shell. I know the explosion would have had to be enormously powerful to cause that much damage. I remember thinking in the days after the bombing and seeing the images of the damage thinking that I cannot believe it happened. I was inside the building earlier in the year visiting the Social Security Office that was located inside and I was in awe of the granite that lined the inside and thinking how safe it would be to work inside this building.
That was all shattered in an instant just several months after on that day and not a single day goes by that I am not reminded about it.
If you are old enough to remember back then, what do you remember about it?