Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (State #6)

“February 17th 2015

 

I stayed in Norman last night, home of the OU Sooners. Their museum of natural history was closing an hour after I got in. I brushed up on my Permian Extinction trivia and mused philosophically on the frailty of life as one certainly should in such sophisticated situations.

 

I drove north through the main campus and walked around disguised as a hardworking young man. It’s a cool school. Someone was a huge fan of brick.

 

The  next morning I rolled up I-35 into OKC proper. Not having much tourist advice to go off of, I drove to the OKC National Memorial & Museum (site / wiki).

 

I spoke with Gill who I think held the title of Operations Director there. After explaining that I was interested in exchanging state flags he enthusiastically told me to bring my flag in while he went to grab the key to the flag pole hatch. It doesn’t happen often that someone hears my plans about the flags and the states and just jumps right onboard. No one has been outright against it, but they usually hesitate while they process it. Not Gill. We changed them out before I went through the 3 story museum and plaza style memorial.

 

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I’m still in shock from the honor – feeling galvanized.

 

The museum is exceptionally well laid out.

 

First, you hear a recording of multiple and immediately successive explosions crashing through the microphone that was recording the orderly Oklahoma Water Board meeting in the building across the street. The exhibits of authentic debris put me in touch with what the scene looked like up close. The personal stories of victims and rescuers hit and resonate. And they conclude the museum tour through the trial and controversies.

 

Controversies such as letting the perpetrator live for 17 years in custody before his execution, and the dilemma that families, friends, and co-workers had to go through. Namely the fact that they were told they could not view the trial if they testified against the defendant.

 

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The reflection pool stands in the footprint of the original building. The Survivors Tree is at the top of the terrace at left. It’s crooked shape is a result of the blast.

 

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Mementos.

 

I was young during 9/11, and 6 years earlier I was only in first grade – clearly too young to absorb the Oklahoma City bombing. For that reason, I am glad the Memorial & Museum were able to show me a story I was never properly told.”

 

2-17-15 (3)

 

2-17-15 (4)

 

“Exhale completely

and then deeper

pause deflated

then rebound

smooth, stifle, and dampen

blink and think”

 

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OK state of mind.

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