April 19th, 1995

Exactly 23 years ago, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed, resulting in the the deaths of 168 humans.

I’m writing this short reflective post, as I’m sure many bloggers across Oklahoma are doing, simply to remember and honor those who have been affected by the event.

Take some time to talk to those around you, those who remember that day clearly. Share the stories that happened in the moments and days following the event, the stories of bravery and courage and love. Find stories online, read them, share them. We have access to more information now than ever before, so use some of the time you typically spend scrolling through social medias and google the “OKC bombing.” Volunteer to help the Memorial Marathon, or just show up and cheer people on. Or even sign up to run the 5k. There is nothing quite like running in the Memorial. Each year I eagerly look forward to running while thousands of people I’ve never met cheer me on. In fact, April has become one of my favorite months of the year because of the Marathon.

But please, remember, so we will not forget.

I was 5 months old at the time, and obviously had no recollection of the event but, as time has passed, I believe I have experienced the results of that tragic event almost as significantly as if I had been there when the bomb went off. What do I mean?

As the years have rolled on, and I have experienced many April 19th’s, one inevitable truth shines through as people reflect on the bombing.

What happened on April 19th, 1995 was a tragedy that brought Oklahomans together in such a way as nothing else could. For a short period of time, much like after 9/11, the sense of community and bond between the people of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma in general was as strong as it has ever been, and the results of the bombing have created an environment in which Oklahoma has flourished.

So, being only 5 months old at the time, I experienced little of the evil that happened; however, growing up in an environment with the bombing in the backdrop, a bombing somehow uniting the people of OKC, I have been able to see Oklahoma City flourish, and for that I am most thankful.

Tragedy can unite or divide, and 23 years ago, the people of Oklahoma came together and refused to let the darkness win. We can all look back and bear witness to such a truth.

So as we all take a collective breath, and remember, look also to the dark things in your life now, the things that seem to be falling apart. If something as bad as the Murrah building bombing can unite people and bring goodness to a community, then what could be done with the terrible things in your life?

I have a sneaking suspicion that we are all dealing with darkness, that is to say, we are all fighting hard battles. I also think there is a God out there who is in no way unconcerned with our daily difficulties, whether they be as little as a boring job, or as significant as the death or loss of a loved one. The same God was there when the bomb went off, and as hard as his existence might seem in light of the evil and tragedy of that day, I bet he was already working to redeem the situation. 

After all, friends, it’s not about us; it’s about a God who can transform even tragedy into beauty.

I’d love to hear your stories! Comment below or on Facebook with your stories, whether they were on the day of the bombing, or in the years that followed! Or shoot me a text or an email.

Email: seth.brown@eagles.oc.edu

Phone: 405-990-6268

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