April 19, 1995. Mark and I were in Oklahoma, Broken Arrow, at his parents’ house, the day of his brother Ray’s funeral. We got home, changed clothes. Came downstairs. Sunlight was warm through the windows, the house shadowed by trees. Everybody was quiet, exhausted. Somebody turned on the television. News report, helicopter circling a mass of smoke and dust. News anchors vamping, talking about downtown Oklahoma city, an explosion in downtown Oklahoma City, believed to be the federal building, cause unknown. Then it became an unconfirmed bomb. Then it was an unconfirmed bomb, detonated by “Muslim extremists.” There was a police sketch of an “Arab” suspected in the attack.
Turned out it was one of us. Soldier turned vigilante. Hate is powerful fuel for a terrible weapon.
Six years later, when the unthinkable happened again, my little red home state showed its true colors by doing what Oklahomans do best — reaching out in love and friendship and kinship to others who are suffering, saying we know, we’ve been there, we understand, tell us what to do for you.
Oklahomans red and blue, you are beautiful. I love you. You are home.
What images and recollections do you have of 4/19/1995?