Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. My prayers and thoughts are with the family members, victims, fire responders, all who have always known whether it is the first, seventh, thirteenth or twentieth time April 19 has been the date on the calendar since that terrible day in 1995. My prayers are also with those who served on the jury for the trial of the accused bomber. This has to be difficult day for so many.
Twenty years ago I was in England with my two daughters and my British born mum for a two-week vacation to introduce my girls to the “mother country” of their Nanny. We were fortunate to have family to stay with and who were also willingly to drive us hither and fro through the British Countryside. We had already visited the sights of London – toured the Tower, heard Big Ben chime twelve as we came out of the underground, visited the stables to see the Queens horses, shopped for English sweets and souvenirs. We had taken the train to Oxford to see the universities and where I was born. On Easter Sunday we had gone to Windsor Castle and had a glimpse of the Queen Mother leaving church.
On Wednesday April 19 we had visited Hampton Court and my daughters had participated in the “Jeweled Egg Hunt”, a scavenger hunt designed to make historical places a little more interesting to a 7 and 10-year-old. Upon returning to Auntie Mirrey’s house while enjoying a cup of tea there was breaking news report on the television of a bombing in Oklahoma City. My dad is from Oklahoma. Oklahoma was far away but not foreign to us. I had lived on the campus of the University of Oklahoma as a little girl. I remember trying to listen to the information and at the same time shielding my daughters from the news. A telephone call “home” would give more information but the sense of disbelief would remain. Sadness for those who were lost, sadness for innocence lost, sadness for lives changed, sadness for my country being bombed.
On that day twenty years ago I didn’t know that 6.5 years later I would become a member of a select group of people those who have experienced a personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy. I didn’t realize that I would be able to understand in ways I wish I didn’t know what it is like to have a nation remember the anniversary of your loved ones death. I pray that no one else ever has that distinction.