Places to Honor Everyday Patriots
- « Prev
- Next »
- 1 of 5 |
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
It's the utterly average nature of the scene that makes the tragedy of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building all the harder to bear. This is no battlefield where armies sought each other out, warriors challenging warriors. Here, at 9:01 a.m. on an April day in 1995, stood an Oklahoma City office building. People meeting, getting coffee, dropping off kids at the day care downstairs. By 9:03, it was a war zone, half the building ripped away by a domestic terrorist's truck bomb. The attack left 168 dead and a nation wondering whether anyplace was safe. It was a taste of 9/11 before we knew the term.
Today, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum bears witness to the loss, but also testament to the resilience of the survivors. Glass cubes hold photos and personal mementos of the men, women and children killed. Sealed rooms preserve the setting as it looked after the explosion— desks covered in dust, clocks stopped at 9:02. Outside, 168 empty chairs glow each night. Standing as a symbol of the nation's recovery is the Survivor Tree, an American elm that took the blast's full force and lived on.
It's a different kind of victory we come here to celebrate. No generals became heroes in this place; no war was decided on this ground. But with the ghostly remnants of interrupted lives, we're reminded that people just like us sometimes die for their country, leaving everyday heroes for us to honor. (405) 235-3313; oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org
Click ahead for three more patriotic places.