Monday, April 19, 2010

Fifteen Years After

Oklahoma City was the bomb heard round the world, an event that forever informed us that our enemies were not only abroad, but they could also be home-grown.

Ten years ago the Daily Oklahoman published a moving editorial on the event, and they revised and updated for the 15-year anniversary:

Moving imperceptibly from east to west, the morning sun on April 19, 1995, crossed the 200 block of NW 5. A shadow darted out of harm’s way. Clocks advanced from 9:01 to 9:02, Central Daylight Time.
A moment in time. A moment of eternity.
Lives were brutally stolen in that moment. The lives of hundreds of others were forever changed. A young city aged quickly and visibly, showing lines from worry and despair but also the resilience that the pioneers tapped to survive harsh weather and gutting poverty.
No crop failure or natural disaster, so frequent in these parts, made April 19 a date that will live in infamy. Instead, it was a calculated act of terror arising from one man’s desire for revenge. He spent that moment in time getting away, unwilling to endure or even witness the horror he had wrought.
When Oklahoma City joined Beirut and Tel Aviv and London as a locus of terrorism, outsiders were quick to note our "mature” response to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing -- as if a city so relatively small, so relatively insignificant on the world stage, should not be expected to cope or recover.
Insiders were too busy to think about it.
Minute by minute, we trucked out the rubble and carried out the dead, identified them and released them to their families. We shared their pain but could not possibly share their loss. We began to rebuild and we argued over how best to compensate survivors and whether Timothy McVeigh should be executed or left to wallow in his vitriol until a natural death spoke his name.
On this April 19, nearly 8 million minutes will have passed since that moment McVeigh’s fuse reached the explosives. The sun moving across the 200 block of NW 5 no longer illumines a government office building. It floods a field of green planted with sculpted chairs in place of 168 lives and all the memories they made and all the potential that died with them.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. We need to keep in our sensory-overloaded and wingnut-propaganda-bemused minds that certain individuals in this country actually celebrate April 19th (and no, Crazy Michele, it's not the Democrats). And no, they are not vague "furriners" with "furrin-soundin'" names. They are homegrown American Hatriots who are ready, willing and able to kill their "enemies", which, when it comes down to it, turn out to be police officers, National Guardsmen and firefighters.

I never thought I'd agree again (I mean twice in one lifetime? Come on!) with the John Birch Society, but they were famous for their "Support Your Local Police" program, complete with pins and bumperstickers.

Now I find I am in total agreement with that particular sentiment.

Jeez, who'da thunk it? But ... things change, times change, people change.