April 19, 2010

April 19, 1995

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)


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I was very young when this happened, so I didn't know much about it beyond the basic headlines. Glad the Oklahomans won't forget :)

  2. Gringationcancun - Thanks for the comment. I worry that we too easily forget the lessons of our past, even when it's relatively recent.


  3. well said! the perpetrator never regretted his
    heinous act.

    i tagged you today but please do NOT feel compelled
    to follow the rules. just enjoy being appreciated by
    and edison eagle!

  4. I came over from myletterstoemily. I too am a single. Last night I watched The McVeigh Tapes on MSNBC. It is appalling to me the lack of remorese he felt for the victims and their families even going so far as to suggest they just "Get over it!" Can you imagine being so callous?

  5. Amy -

    I had thought I could watch the special but I only lasted a few minutes. I did go back for the last 10 or 15 minutes, and I agree - it's hard to imagine how anyone could be so cold and calculating about destroying so many lives.


  6. I was in Mexico for Spring Break when this happened. A particularly clear sky on the night of April 18th gave us a decent radio signal from a Southern California station and we sat around stunned as we listened to the news.

    I have to admit that I don't often think about this tragedy, since I was not affected by it in any physical or social way. But it is good to remember what happened and to make sure that those who died did not die in vain.

  7. This has to be one of the best rememberances of the Oklahoma City bombing that I have ever read. Well done, Margaret and may we never forget the terrible tragedy that took place 15 years ago.

  8. A beautiful and fitting tribute. It's difficult to believe that 15 years have passed. The memory of the event, much like 9/11, the Challenger explosion, the assassinations of both Kennedys and Martin Luther King are instant flashbacks.