Suffer the little children: The Oklahoma City Bombing 20 years later.

April 19, 2015
Firefighterbabyocb

Fireman Chris Fields removing infant Baylee Almon (who later died) from destruction. Photo by Charles H. Porter IV. (smaller size than actual photo to conform to Fair Use) Won the Pulitzer Prize for its impact. Loction of actual photo http://www.pulitzer.org/works/1996-Spot-News-Photography

Just after 9 am on Wednesday April 19, 1995 a massive explosion destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This was a work day and the building was full of office workers just starting their day. The lower level had a daycare centre where employees could leave their children to be looked after while they were at work.

Murrah_Building_-_Aerial.-US Army Corp of Engineers-PublicDoman

Alfred P. Murrah Building after the bombing. Photo by US Army Corps of Engineers.

The bomb killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. Included in the death toll were 19 children under the age of six. A massive rescue operation took place over the next days to find and help others trapped in the debris of the building.

The explosion destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius. Glass was shattered in 258 other buildings and 86 cars were destroyed. An estimated $652 million dollars damage resulted.

The Oklahoma City Bombing was the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. Timothy McVeigh the mastermind behind the terrible crime was captured within 90 minutes. Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger stopped him for driving without a license plate. The officer arrested him for illegal weapons possession. Investigators used forensic evidence to link him to the attack. Terry Nichols, Michael and Lori Fortier were identified and arrested as accomplices.

The bombers rented a large truck from Ryder, packed it full of explosives and parked it in front of the building. The bomb was timed to detonate just after the start of the work day when the maximum number of people would be in the building.

The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. The Federal government executed McVeigh by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols received life in prison without parole. The Fortiers testified against McVeigh and Nichols. Michael got 12 years in prison with Lori receiving immunity for her testimony.

Today the Oklahoma City Memorial sits on the site and annual remembrance services are held on the day. The memorial consists of a chair for each victim. There are 19 small chairs representing the children.

Reading about this event and seeing the pictures I know that evil exists. The victims in this bombing weren’t soldiers, but office workers and children. Innocents going about their everyday routines. Tragically this day they never returned home to their families and friends. The shockwave of the blast still echoes today 20 years later.

Advertisements

Where the Wild Things Are

October 19, 2009

WildThingStampUS2006Maurice Sendak is an Jewish-American writer and illustrator born June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. He both wrote and illustrated the book. It was published in 1963 and became an immediate hit. The story received the Caldecott prize for Most Distinguished American Picture book for children in 1964.  Sendak’s books are somewhat controversial because of his drawings and subject matter, but the kids eat it up.

“Where the Wild Things Are” is now a major motion picture. In 1966 the United States Postal Service issued a set of stamps for the best children’s books. His story was one of the stamps.

Sendak’s “Little Bear” stories are now a TV series and appear on Treehouse TV here in Canada.  Sendak is still living and is now 81. He helped write the screenplay for this movie.


Don’t Forget Your Relationship

June 26, 2009

This is a message for those couples who put so much energy into raising their children that they forget about their own relationship.

As a divorced parent and married again parent I tell you this is dangerous and downright foolish. A happy marriage equals a happy family.

  • Remember you and your husband were here first.
  • Make your relationship a priority. Sure you love your kids, but they will be better off knowing you love each other.
  • Look after your marriage as much as you look after your kids.
  • Communicate, communicate. Tell each other everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t let it fester.
  • Kids feed off mom and dad’s love for each other. It’s healthy for them to see you kissing and hugging. It gives them a sense of security.
  • Make time for each other. Sure this is hard at times, but so important.
  • Make love not war. Sex is good for your relationship. It brings you closer and hey it’s that special thing only you have.

Always remember why you fell in love with your partner in the first place. Make an effort to keep the passion you had for your partner alive, sure it won’t be like the beginning, but be as passionate as you can about the relationship you have with each other. The rest will be easy.


A Father on Father’s Day

June 19, 2009

I loved my Dad and I miss him. It’s been five years since he passed. This Sunday the loss of him will pull at me again. The last few years whenever I saw him I always hugged him and told him I loved him. Growing up I didn’t do those things a lot. I’m glad I did later on. 

Father’s aren’t perfect. God knows we make lots of mistakes, but it’s so important for children to have a strong father-figure in their lives. 

No matter what’s transpired during the day I always tell my kids I love them when I arrive home from work and at bedtime. 

As a father I thrive on the love I receive in return. To love and be truly loved back is what life is all about. 

Daughters especially seem to need the love of fathers. I have four daughters, two are grown up now, and two are growing up. The greatest mistake of my life was letting one of them down in a big way when she needed me. It’s something I’ll regret the rest of my life. Dads make mistakes. With the support of my loving wife I’ve worked hard at learning from my mistakes and improving as a person and a father. 

Sons need their fathers, but differently than girls. Fathers must work hard to be good role models for sons. Sometimes I don’t realize how much my son loves me until I see how he is trying hard to emulate me. At those times the impact I’m making on him as a father becomes very clear. 

Being a father is a huge responsibility. I’m working hard to be a good one. I love you kids.


As Time Goes By – Anniversaries to Reflect On

May 27, 2009

The year 2009 for me is a time of reflection. Recently I turned 60 years of age. Part of attaining that age for me has been reflecting on my life so far. For many years I’ve been a history buff and amateur genealogist. Because of this it’s natural for me to look back on life’s victories and defeats. Here are some of the significant anniversaries in my 60th year, 2009.

  • 60 years of paradise on earth, May 1949 to 2009.
  • 40 years in the full-time work world, June 1969 to 2009.
  • 34 years since I married, for the first time, 1975 to 2009.
  • 31 years of fatherhood, 1978 to 2009.
  • 23 years since end of first marriage.
  • 10 years with the love of my life, Cindy.

The victories have far outweighed the defeats. Life is good. Now if I can just hang around for another 30 or 40 years.


Father’s Day: The True Meaning

June 10, 2008

What does Father’s Day mean to me? First let me explain my life situation.

I’m 59 years of age and an older father. I have two daughters from a previous marriage both grown up now. The oldest one and her husband will be initiating me to the world of grand-parenting this October with the arrival of their son.

I have three more children with the love-of-my-life. We have a six-year old son and twin daughters four-years of age.

All my children are special to me. The love I get back more than makes up for the hard work involved in being a father. Being Dad is the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life, but also the most rewarding. No one is perfect and I have made my share of mistakes along the way. With the help of my loving wife, I have grown as a parent and managed to get better at the job. Of course there is always room for improvement. Life can be stressful and I need to learn to handle that stress better, but I am always working on it.

My wife and children are asking what I want for Father’s Day. Sleeping in, having an unhurried morning coffee, watching a man-movie, and a nap on the couch are on my list, but likely not in the realm of possibility. Quality time with the kids come Sunday morning is the reality. In the final analysis I can’t think of anything of material value, but just for them to want me to be part of their life and let me love them.


China’s 50,000 Earthquake Victims: More Than Numbers

May 15, 2008

News reports numb us. The massive earthquake that hit China’s southwest provinces on Monday May 12th is just one example. We find it hard to imagine what it all means. Visualize a city of 50,000 people in Canada or the United States. Now imagine all the population being killed within a few minutes. Sobering isn’t it.

All of the 50,000 had families and stories behind their lost lives. I cry for the children especially. One minute they were in class revelling in the joy of learning, the next they were dead or severely injured as their schools came crashing down on them.

Here are some pictures from Reuters that tell the real story without words. Look at them and say a prayer for their young lives lost. Then when you read the reports of such disasters know the human tragedy is not just a number.

 
Feet of dead school children in wreckage.


Backpack placed next to schoolchild killed in quake.


%d bloggers like this: