Where were you on April 19, 1995? For anyone living in Oklahoma at that time, we immediately remember. That was the tragic, fateful day in which notorious killer Timothy McVeigh exploded a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, taking the lives of 168 people, including children, and injuring many more.
The heroic and faithful response of Oklahomans (and others) to the bombing gave birth to the term, The Oklahoma Standard. Today marks the 21st anniversary of the OKC bombing.
On April 19, 1995, I was a high school student sitting in driver’s ed class when I heard the news. I remember being confused by what was happening, then horrified. I wish I could say I had some important part in the response, but really, I merely followed the lead of many around me, in joining hearts in prayer for victims, families and first responders during the difficult days that followed.
Since the time of the event, I have been given a few small opportunities to remember, including running in the OKC Memorial Marathon (not the whole marathon, only half), touring the National Memorial Museum and helping to publish a 20th anniversary article series (here and here) with the Baptist Messenger.
Any efforts by you or me to remember are worthwhile and important. Yet, to borrow a phrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, “In a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
In other words, the heroics in response to the terror at that time are so powerful, so important, they are beyond anything we can do.
And yet… let’s remember. Let’s pray. Let’s act to honor those who lost their lives and the families of the victims and others who were part of the response who, 21 years later, still inspire us. By God’s grace, may their memory live on, with hope from the Lord.
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me (Isaiah 46:9).