I’ve debated about whether or not and how to write a post about that day. I have been reading people’s memories etc. online. I’ve also been reading people’s comments online which include everything from empathy to hatred for Trump supporters and Americans for using bombs in other countries. So, I decided to write about a different aspect of that day people who weren’t there don’t often hear about.
I was working with two people who had relatives downtown in nearby buildings that took heavy damage from the blast. One of them managed to contact their relative by early afternoon. The blast was at 9:01am. The other person did not hear from her sister until late the first evening. Thank God their relatives were both ok. We knew as soon as we heard the blast and felt the building shake, that something blew up. Something big and huge. It took a long time to get any information as to what happened and how extensive the damage was. It took days to dig people out. 168 people died. It wasn’t just an awful day. It was awful for weeks. It is still awful for families who lost loved ones or who suffered lifelong injuries. There are people in OKC who still have PTSD and cannot go watch fireworks on the 4th of July.
Here is what people who weren’t living there probably do not understand. Many of the conversations had by people living in OKC at the time were about how downtown OKC looked like pictures of middle eastern war torn countries. Many conversations were about how incredibly mentally tough people have to be to live in those areas with gunfire and bombs going off on frequent occasions. For a little while, everyone in OKC understood how quickly your perspective on life changes in the blink of an eye. I have no doubt there were exact conversations in NYC on 9/11. It’s completely different to watch something on the television and see pictures than it is to be there when it happens. The sound, the dirt and smoke in the air, the shake of the buildings, the smell, and knowing people who cannot find their loved ones cannot be conveyed in a book or on television or in a movie. People who were there won’t ever forget.
OKC, Oklahoma, had many volunteers from other states who came and assisted digging people out of the building. The state of New York was immensely helpful. They stepped up quickly and efficiently. People from all over came and helped OKC. The support and assistance was amazing. We were all thankful that we are blessed to live in a country able and willing to come to each other’s aid in times of crises. The support from around the world was incredible. For that, we thank you. We pray it never happens to you and your city. We pray for anyone who is living under or has lived under these circumstances.