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Oklahoma City, 2013, The End

February 18, 2014

We made it to the end of our journey but have some time before we leave to return to Michigan. We have heard about the memorial at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and are going to stop there first to learn more about the city’s history.

This is an excerpt from the Oklahoma City Memorial web site that describes it much better than I could. ” The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a place of quiet reflection. Designed by Butzer Design Partnership, this Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Murrah Building once stood, as well as the surrounding area devastated during the attack.”

“Field of Empty Chairs

The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.”

A chair for each victim of the bombing

A chair for each victim of the bombing

This sign was painted on the building next door to the site of the bombing by one of the teams that came to help after the bombing.

The building next door to the memorial.

The building next door to the memorial.

“Gates of Time

These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.”

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One of the Twin Gates

The most touching part of the memorial was the fence at one of the entrances. It was filled with memories of the people who died here. From the official website the fence is described this way.

“The Fence”

“The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.”

The Fence

The Fence

A fitting end to our journey to Oklahoma City. We were able to see God at work in the people we met, see people go from despair to hope, sadness to joy in the short time we were here. As we return to Michigan we all have fond memories of the people and places we visited. As in all of the mission trips I have taken I go home thinking I am the one who benefited from the experience as much as the people we were able to help through the grace of God. When Barnabas went to Antioch it says in Acts 11:23 “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” This has surely encouraged us to remain true to the Lord with all of our hearts.

 

 

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