The “O” States: Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon

The+Fence

The Fence

The trip to Ohio and Oregon has not been fulfilled yet, but the adventure awaits!

The history of my State of Oklahoma offers a great example of pursuing the American Dream. It was built and settled by pioneers moving West to seek better lives.””

— Mary Fallin, Former Governor of Oklahoma

Our day in Oklahoma encompassed a visit to Oklahoma City, a place that I have always yearned to go. To my surprise, Oklahoma City was definitely modern, and approximately the size of Dallas, Texas! After the car maneuvered into a parking spot, we walked around for a bit to venture out to a clean city, one that was lined with freshly trimmed grass, buildings pointed to the clouds, and people walking along the sidewalks from all directions. When we embarked on our short walk, it was not long after that we paused in front of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, a monument dedicated to the victims, heroes, and survivors of the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As I stood and observed, my eyes were instantly drawn to the squares of cement. They were unusual in the sense that some of the squares were chalkboards so visitors can write uplifting messages in front of the Memorial. This site comforted me, especially after my parents told me the heart-breaking story that this memorial stood for. Although I personally did not know any of the children who became the victims of the bombing, or those who were traumatized by the tragedy, my heart was saddened knowing that innocent lives were lost because of one person. Directly overlooking the cement squares was a small wall with plaster tiles which serve as beacons of hope. I remember stopping in my tracks to briefly consider the setting that my footsteps can forever be traced. The glistening sun aimed itself on the building and the ground almost as if it was radiating hope in that moment. I had been told that the memorial was “sacred soil and very symbolic.” I browsed through the information pamphlet, that one of the employees gave me, by searching for the deeper truth that lay behind the buildings and went beyond their physical stature. I looked to my left to find the Gates of Time, that framed the three permanently life altering moments endured 25 years ago: 9:01 AM, the innocence prior to the bombing; 9:02 AM, the moment of destruction; 9:03 AM, the eternal moment of healing. Adjacent to the gates, the Reflection Pool offered a quiet, solemn reflection. The water molecules formed my wavering reflection as I looked down, which created a mirror image of a tourist whose life was forever changed by visiting the memorial. Then, I looked straight out in front of me to find 168 chairs that stood for the victims who lost their lives, which was divided into 9 rows, representing the 9 floors of the building that were bombed. It was then that I saw 19 smaller chairs that were dedicated to the innocent children who were in daycare on the first floor that day in 1995. The looming sense of loss that was portrayed through these symbols stayed with me. But then I had a realization. The cement squares where I began my visit were called the Children’s Area, which united children from around the nation and world to sympathize and paint a remembrance tile that contributes to the immortal healing process that many are going through today. Not to mention, the fence that lined the memorial granted Americans the opportunity to leave over 10,000 beacons of hope and artifacts.

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