Monday, April 19, 2010

The Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1995)

We spend a lot of time here at this site discussing frivolous popular culture, but sometimes, it's appropriate to pause and reflect upon more somber topics. Fifteen years ago today, on April 19, 1995, domestic terrorists attacked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people (including a number of small children), wounding more than 680 others, and frightening the nation as a whole. This was the Oklahoma City bombing. The first time I visited Oklahoma City was years later, in the mid 2000s, and on that trip, I toured the area affected by the blast, which has now become a quiet memorial to those who perished that day. A museum nearby offers exhibits related to the bombing and its aftermath. The most chilling thing at the museum is an audio recording of the meeting of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, a body which met near the federal building that morning. Visitors to the museum stop in a room as this recording plays over a sound system. The board's meeting began at 9:00 a.m., just two minutes before the blast. As visitors listen to the recording, they hear what would under any other circumstance be the routine administrative minutiae of an administrative body, but this is far more ominous, as the listeners know what is about to happen. (You can hear that recording here, but it is disturbing.). So, take a moment away from the banality of popular culture today, and think about that terrible day in 1995, when our nation suffered this great tragedy. Normal pop culture posts will resume tomorrow.