Thoughts on this April 19
For me, this morning started much like the morn of April 19 17 years ago.
In 1995, April 19 dawned sunny and bright and I barely registered that fact because I was trying to drop my children off at school and daycare and get in to work. The youngest of my three children was not yet 1 years old so mornings were pretty hectic as I attempted to get bookbags, my purse, a diaper bag and other assorted stuff into the car — and the kids too.
I had been sitting at my desk here at The Oklahoman for approximately 17 minutes when the bomb blew apart the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. My editor sent me to University/Children’s Hospital near downtown Oklahoma City to report on any happenings there. By 9: 25 a.m., I was on the Broadway Extension headed to my assignment for the day. I had no way of knowing that that morning would be the last morning that 168 people would ever experience on this Earth or that my own life and that of countless other Oklahomans and Americans would ever be the same. By the end of that workday which stretched to about 8 p.m., I climbed in my car emotionally drained and headed to pick up my children. Since my husband at that time was a first responder at the Murrah Building site, relatives had picked the children up and kept them until I could get off work.
I’d started my day just trying to get the children to where they needed to go and in the hustle and bustle of the hectic morning, I couldn’t remember what I said or if I had kissed them. I ended the day with a desperate need to see them and hear them and touch them again. My oldest was 8 years old at the time and he knew what had happened but he didn’t understand the magnitude of it, of course. The younger children were oblivious. All they knew was that that night I hugged them and kissed them many, many times and wanted to hear about every minute of their day. It had dawned on me that while I had expected — assumed — that many children from the daycare center inside the Murrah Building would be sent to hospitals due to injuries, the fact was that the majority of those little ones died. Mothers and fathers and grandparents had dropped them off that morning but most of those children never made it back home.
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