It's been 15 years and still visitors shed tears daily at the site of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Those tears are their tribute. It's their way of saying we remember.
Their time is their tribute. They have made a decision to spend time at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which is dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.
On April 19, 2000, President Bill Clinton dedicated the outdoor symbolic memorial on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack.
Less than one year later, President George W. Bush dedicated the Memorial Museum, on Feb. 19, 2001. Visitors tour the museum to learn the story of April 19, 1995, and how chaos was transformed into hope and unity in the response to the bombing.
This year, Clinton received the Reflections of Hope Award for his work in helping Oklahoma City transform after the bombing and for international peace work during his presidency and over the past decade.
The Reflections of Hope Award honors a living person or active organization whose conduct exemplifies two core beliefs of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation: that hope can survive and blossom amid the tragedy and chaos of political violence and that, even in environments marred by such violence, peaceful, nonviolent approaches provide the best answers to human problems.
In receiving the award, he said, "Though I confess, when I went to the memorial I found myself wishing still that there had been no occasion to give rise to this honor, I've been thinking a lot about Oklahoma City lately.
"It really is true that even today anybody that thinks this country is mostly mean and selfish would do themselves a big favor by coming to Oklahoma City."
The budget to build the three-component memorial and seed the endowment was $29.1 million. This money raised included more than $17 million in private funds, $5 million federal dollars and more than $7 million in state funds.
The national memorial has drawn visitors from all 50 U.S. states and more than 30 countries. It is an affiliate of the National Park System, but it is owned, operated and maintained by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.
The national memorial does not receive any annual operating funds from the federal, state or local government. Museum admissions, store sales, the OKC Memorial Marathon, earnings from an endowment and private fundraising allow the Memorial and Museum to be self-sustaining.
The top two priorities are remembrance and education.
Kari Watkins, executive director of the national memorial, said the legacy is not the bombing, but rather how "we came out of it."
"The city my kids enjoy is different, and that's because the simple, kind, positive actions of people can make a difference," she said.
-10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
-10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays (May through October)
-Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
-Closed Mondays and major holidays
-"La Serenissima — Eighteenth-century Venetian Art," from North American collections; Sept. 9-Jan. 2
-University of Oklahoma professor Jonathan Hils' "Intersection" exhibit; Sept. 9-Jan. 2
-George Nelson modern furniture exhibit; Feb. 3-May 1
Jill Downen's "Counterparts" exhibit; Feb. 3-May 1