Saturday morning dawned sunny and already warm for our next leg to Oklahoma City. Although we have been to Oklahoma in the past, previously we went west to visit the Fort Sill/Lawton area, especially the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Center. https://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/oklahoma/wichitamountains/
This trip we are stopping in Oklahoma City for a few days. Our campground, Council Road RV Park, located on the west side of town, is adequate, nothing fancy. The drive was all Interstates and the Oklahoma Turnpike, one of the straightest and smoothest we have been on.
Our plan for Sunday was a visit to the Oklahoma National Memorial. Although I had seen pictures, nothing prepared me for the impact the Memorial would have. Upon arriving the first thing you notice is an old piece of chainlink fence festoon with objects left by visitors. Teddy bears, letters to mothers, fathers, and children lost in the bombing, runners bibs from the OK City Memorial marathon, baseballs, footballs, flowers. Although not a part of the original plans this piece of the fence that had surrounded the bomb site was saved at the behest of the many that had left memories in the past. The 168 bronze and glass chairs, representing the empty chairs at the victim’s dinner tables, are arranged in 9 rows, by the area and floor each person was on at the time of the bombing, 19 small chairs for the children that McVeigh called collateral damage, the memorial is located on the exact site of the Murrah building using the remaining surviving walls to enclose it. The Chairs face a peaceful reflection pool that covers the former street. Each end of the pool is bookended by tall bronze walls with 9:01 at one end and 9:03 at the other, from peace to chaos, the time it took McVeigh to park, set the fuse and walk away. Next to the memorial is the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. It traces the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years from the time of the explosion to the execution of the criminal that set it in motion.
In the evening, we went down to the Brickyard district. The old stockyard district has been rehabilitated to a showplace with a new Baseball stadium, and restaurants and shops along the old canal. We had dinner, and people watched for an hour or so before returning to the Memorial.
Visiting the Memorial in the daytime does not offer the full impact. We returned as dusk was setting in to watch the lights slowly illuminated the Chairs and walls. While we walked the grounds, there was a steady flow of visitors, quietly, respectfully walking.
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is also located in OK City. The museum covers all aspects of western life, Native Americans, Cowboys, both genuine and movie and TV, the Military, Hunters and Trappers, Artists, Once we entered it seemed to go on and on, each room’s offering fascinating collections of memorabilia. My favorite was the Movie and TV cowboys especially the TV cowboys, The Lone Ranger & Tonto, the Cisco Kid and Poncho, Gun Smoke with Marshall Dillon, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hop-a-Long Cassidy, Maverick, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot and many others. I matched 11 of 12 songs to their TV show. So many memories of hours in front of the TV. I loved it all. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum should be a must see in Oklahoma City.
We enjoyed our stop in OK City, but tomorrow we are going west to Amarillo TX.