President Obama has proclaimed April 19, 2010 as National Day of Service and Remembrance for Victims and Survivors of Terrorism. Americans in all 50 states have been asked to fly their flags at half-staff to mark the observance.
My state is different. I live in Oklahoma, where our flags will be at half-staff throughout this week as we remember the 168 lives lost in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, which took place 15 years ago today. While it pales in comparison to 9/11, the Murrah bombing remains the greatest act of homegrown terrorism to take place on American soil.
As the rescue workers went about their work that day, it began to rain. It seemed impossibly cruel that it would rain even as rescuers were risking their own safety as they frantically began to dig for survivors. Later that night a local anchor who traveled to Oklahoma City to cover the bombing gave the rain a wonderful imagery, suggesting that it was God's own tears.
Oklahomans shed buckets of our own tears over the next few months. Our flags remained at half-staff from April 19 until July 4, serving as constant reminders of all of the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and coworkers who went to work or to daycare that day, never to return home again. Each time I saw a flag at half-staff, I found myself praying for the survivors and their families.
May we never forget the 168 lives that were lost in the Murrah bombing, or the countless lives that were forever changed by the inexplicable act of terror.
May we always remember that words matter, and that they can have an impact for good or for evil.
May we stop talking in anger about militias and taking our country back and remember in love that we are, after all, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Most of all, may we learn what it is to truly love one another.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~ I John 4:7-8 (NKJV)