What the OKC bombing museum taught me

April 19 will, hopefully, always be a good day for me. Two years ago today I asked Kaytlyn to be my girlfriend and she, for some reason, said yes. But it’s far from a good day for a lot of people.

On April 19, 1995, a truck full of explosives detonated, destroying the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 168 people died and more than 680 were injured.

As most know, Kaytlyn and I went to OKC two weeks ago for a Thunder game. We had to decide what to do in some of our spare time there, so we, mostly I, decided to visit the bombing memorial museum. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

The authenticity of the museum is stunning. From objects that were recovered from the rubble, to news clippings of that day, to listening to an audio recording of a meeting taking place in a building across the street from the bombing.

The act by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols was pure evil.

The museum takes you in chronological order. It starts with the background of the federal building, when it was built, the documents that put it in place, etc.

Then you go into the audio room, where you hear that actual recording, and it takes you to a place that no one wanted to be. You’re soon immersed in a room full of rubble, debris, and a sense of complete chaos.

Proceeding were rooms of recovery, rooms of loss, and rooms of memory. A lot of bad happened on this day but a lot of good happened as well. Individual heroes were documented that restored your faith in humanity a little bit.

Outside lies empty chairs, big and little, to represent all the lives that were lost. The reflecting pool lies where the street of the bombing used to be. One sense that you get when viewing these is abnormal for the situation. Everything was completely calm.

I wish I could’ve been there longer. There was a two hour parking limit where we parked. Had it not been for Kaytlyn, we, or I mostly, would’ve went way over.

There are two things I learned in this visit. First, history can be pretty cool. I sense the eye rolls, I used to eye roll myself. Second, you really don’t know what day is going to be your last.

I can assure you that 168 people did not wake up on April 19, 1995 and think those were their last hours on earth. It’s scary to think about, but it reinforces your idea of not taking a single moment for granted.

I’m not going to preach on it for too long, you’ve all heard it before. Life is precious, make the most of every opportunity, and don’t look back. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But really, just do it.

If you’re ever in the vicinity and you have time, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t visit the museum. It’s a beautiful place with about as much info as you can possibly get on the subject. It’ll inform you and open your eyes.

Love your family, love your friends, love yourself, and most importantly, don’t be an asshole. I struggle with that last one sometimes.

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