April was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. 20 years ago I was in my first year of college in California. I heard about it but didn’t know anybody directly affected by it. Now that I’m a bonafide Okie (even though I’m Texas born) I have come to understand what the Oklahoma Standard really means. This term started being used by the media and civic leaders after the bombing when they saw the outpouring of love, donations, and help from strangers for their fellow Oklahomans. When you walk through the Memorial museum there is story after story of people who gave their time and resources to help those who were suffering. This tradition and standard has continued through every emergency, small or large that our state has faced over the past 20 years. While we may have fundamentally different political or religious views we are able to set our differences aside when faced with adversity and do what needs to be done when someone is in need.
This week I met up with some friends from my Oklahoma Women Bloggers group. We visited the Memorial to show respect for the victims and survivors of the bombing. I’ve visited the Memorial several times but each time I walk through the 9:03 gate I feel a wave of grief, compassion and healing hit me. I see the chairs and I feel like time stands still. Those babies are still just babies, cradled in eternal arms of love; those fathers and mothers wait patiently to be reunited with the pieces of their heart they were forced to leave here back on earth. No matter your religious upbringing or your understanding of why we are here, you can’t help but know that there is something “more” happening at the Memorial.