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When In Oklahoma City, This Memorial May Change Your Life Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is a must see for anyone visiting the state. The memorial shows us that from tragedy and terror we can build beauty in its place. April 1995 was a bad year for Oklahoma City when domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The bombing destroyed one-third of the building. It killed 168 people, and injured more than 680 others. Along with the main target, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, and destroyed or burned 86 cars. The bombing caused an estimated $652 million in damages. But today it stands one of the most beautiful memorials in the United States. It reminds us that courage in the face of terror and compassion for others is far more powerful than causing terror.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial 

The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial the design for the memorial was chosen unanimously by a 15-member panel from 624 submissions. It includes a beautiful reflecting pool, memorial chairs with the names of those who died, the Gate of Time, The Survivor Tree, and the Journal Record Building.

The memorial includes a reflecting pool flanked by two large gates. One is inscribed with the time 9:01 and the other with 9:03. The pool represents the moment of the blast. On the south end of the memorial is a field of symbolic bronze and stone chairs—one for each person lost, arranged according to what floor of the building they were on. The chairs represent the empty chairs at the dinner tables of the victims’ families. The seats of the children killed are smaller than those of the adults lost. On the opposite side is the “survivor tree”, part of the building’s original landscaping that survived the blast and fires that followed it.

What Still Remains of the Building

Pieces of the Original Building Intact

The stairways up to the memorial are combined with original pieces of the building that stayed intact, allowing visitors to see the scale of the destruction.

The Memorial Chainlink Fence

The Memorial Fence

The Memorial Fence

The western side the chain link fence that was put there after the bombing to protect people from the wreckage. It still stands for family members, friends, and anyone else to leave flowers and other items in memory of the fallen.

The Inscription on the Memorial Gate


This is a memorial for an awful act of violence. But it is absolutely beautiful. And is truly an important place for every traveler to visit. It gives perspective to our mortality. It gives us faith in humanity. Perhaps most importantly though it reminds visitors that most of us stand united against terrorism. And as long as we stick together, we will never succumb to terror but instead we will celebrate life.

John Newell

John Newell is a professional musician as well as student, who is currently working on his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of Washington. He is also a photographer and freelance writer.

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