I should have posted this yesterday, but my mind is all over the place these days. I figured better late than never. Just like most people remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, so many people remember their whereabouts when the OKC bombing occurred.
Fifteen years ago (on April 19) at 9:02 AM, I was living in Oklahoma City attending college at SNU. It was my junior year, and I was just getting ready for my first class of the day. All of a sudden I heard a loud explosion and felt a shake of the building. Unusual, but I didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I walked down to the lobby of the dorms that I realized something serious had happened. People were huddled around the TV watching in horror the unfolding nightmare of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Numerous friends and classmates remained glued to the TV, knowing they had loved ones in the building when it was bombed. Knowing my family back in CO would be worried, I tried to call them; but the phone lines were jammed and we were unable to communicate for several hours. (This was prior to everyone having internet and email access or even cell phones.)
In the days that followed I was in awe of how the people of OK came together and supported each other. I, along with several classmates, volunteered in the afternoons at the Redcross and Feed The Children. Anything I could do to help gave me a sense of purpose in such a tragic time. I'll never forget walking downtown, standing near the bombed federal building - with its contents dangling in the wind, unable to process such a horrific act. Or driving down the interstate and seeing every single car with its headlights on in support of the rescue effort.
It's a weird thing to realize you've been closely involved with a major event in our history. We were all affected that day...us Americans...because it was a random act of violence that could have happened anywhere. So many lives were impacted with the loss of their loved ones (one of my classmates lost her mother that day); and yet so many lives were touched by the rescue effort of hundreds of people from around the country.
This Sunday, April 25, I will run to remember in the Oklahoma City Marathon. Along with 4 friends I will run the marathon relay and honor those lives who passed before on us April 19, 1995.