Our entire drive home was dictated by the GPS on my phone. I call her Viola. We put our trust in Viola to tell us the best and most efficient routes to take. When we saw that we were going to be driving right through Oklahoma City I did a quick google search to see if the Oklahoma City National Memorial was open on Sundays. For your future reference, it is. The museum is open on Sundays as well, but it was closing pretty soon after we got there. I would certainly like to go back and take my time in the museum someday.
I was disappointed we couldn't go in the museum, but it was still meaningful to visit the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial. All of the information I will include here is from the Memorial Website. They are not my words.
The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a place of quiet reflection. Designed by Butzer Design Partnership, this Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Murrah Building once stood, as well as the surrounding area devastated during the attack.
This is the outside of the West Gate. The "Gates of Time" are twin gates that frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.
The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.
The entrance to the museum
The Children's Area
In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings — an important component of the healing process.
The Survivor Tree
The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.
The inside of the 9:01 Gate
The inside of the 9:03 Gate
The Reflecting Pool
The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.
The survivor tree from the other side
The Field of Empty Chairs
The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.
Standing in front of the 9:01 Gate looking across the Reflecting Pool at the 9:03 Gate
Looking across the Rescuer's Orchard
Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.
A monument across the street in front of a local church
We spent about 30 minutes walking around outside and then we really needed to get back on the road. Our goal was to make it to Amarillo and we were already looking at an 8:30 pm arrival time.
Driving across Oklahoma we drove by one of Bar-S's production or distribution centers. My friend Monica is an accountant for Bar-S so I took these pictures for her. She was going to have to work here temporarily for a while, but luckily got out of that assignment.
We had a lovely little rainstorm for about 20 minutes and then I caught this double rainbow in the side view mirror.
We finally made in to Amarillo, right when Viola said we would at 8:30 pm. We had decided we would eat dinner at the Big Texan, because it seems to be rather famous.
We did not attempt the 72 ounce steak.
It was one of the worst meals I've ever had. The steak was overcooked (we found out later our waitress brought us the wrong steak) and flavorless, my tomato and onion salad was awful (unripe, green tomatoes and huge slices of red onion? Um, no) and the rice was just fair. The rolls were delicious, but they were cold and we only got two. Overall, two thumbs down for this place.
I never drink beer, but after our long day I had a beer and at least it was good.