On April 19th, 1995, I was sitting in my 6th grade math class when we heard a faint noise. Our math class happened to be in a tornado safe room with cement walls and all sorts of extra safety precautions. As a result, we barely even noticed when the bomb went off. It wasn't until after we went out in the halls and heard everyone buzzing about a bombing downtown that we realized something was up. I remember walking around super confused until the teachers started ushering us all into our classrooms and we were told we couldn't leave again till they said it was okay. Then they tried to explain what happened.
About an hour after that, the notes started coming. They were pink, just like they always were when you got a call at the front office or you had to visit one of the administrators. Today, though, it meant something totally different.
We all sat there holding our breath till we got word that our parents/aunts/uncles/neighbors were okay. Some of us never got that news. It took three days to find my friend's dad. He was a secret service agent, and one of the eight counts of murder that Timothy McVeigh was charged for. I remember the day he got his note.
I will never forget that day, or the days following. I will never forget sitting in front of the tv for hours and hours watching the names come across the screen. I will never cease to be thankful that my family was safe on April 19th, and I will never stop sympathizing with those who weren't so lucky.
People always ask us Oklahomans why we love our state and our hometowns so much. It seems impossible to most outsiders considering that we are all just a little bit small town and slow paced, and everything is totally flat. If you had the chance to be in Oklahoma during the aftermath of the bombing and experience all of the love and compassion that everyone had for their friends and neighbors, you would see why. This feeling is still there today, and will be forever. That is why it is such a wonderful place. I am so thankful and proud to be from there. I love Oklahoma.
And, Ande, I think you are so awesome for doing the Memorial Run next weekend. I am sure you are going to finish the half marathon with flying colors. I am so thankful for the gift of a friend like you. And, I am so proud of you for working so hard to get ready for this. Good luck!