We detoured on our way from Texas to Arkansas and went to Oklahoma City to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
We went through the museum first. It was unbelievable and incredibly well-done. I was surprised at how many details I remembered from fifteen years ago when the attack happened. The exhibits were heart-wrenching and I think we read every caption. There were also lots of video exhibits which made it easier for the kids to grasp what had happened. Coleman just kept saying how sad it was. I admit, I cried several times. There were no pictures allowed inside the museum.
The memorial is divided into several sections, one of which is the Children's area. Carolyn and Christian are standing in front of a wall of tiles painted and sent to OKC from kids all around the world.
There are chalk and chalkboards where kids can leave a meesage.
The reflecting pool is sided by two gates of time. One is marked 9:01 and the other is marked 9:03. The explosion happened at 9:02 AM. The tall building in the background is the Regency Towers. The security camera in the lobby got the only picture of the Ryder truck as it went by, five minutes before the blast.
There are 168 chairs arranged in nine rows, one for each floor of the building. Each chair has a name etched in its glass base of a person who was killed. There are 19 smaller chairs representing the nineteen children who died in the blast.
A piece of the Murrah building still stands and has the names of the survivors on it.
This is the Survivor Tree. It is an elm that was in a parking lot right next door to the building. It withstood the blast and it thriving today.
The side of the Survivor tree that faced the blast is blackened and scarred.
The kids sat under its shade and worked on their junior ranger books.
A message written by one of the search teams was left on the side of a facing building.
The chairs are placed on the footprint of the Murrah Building. Fifth Street (where the Ryder truck was parked next to the building) is now the reflecting pool. Interesting fact: the pool is only three quarters of an inch deep and the park ranger told us that it loses 1000 gallons a DAY due to evaporation.
The kids completed their ranger books and were sworn in!