I was going to share these images of the Oklahoma Survivor Tree on the 25th Anniversary of the Oklahoma Bombing but then COVID happened and time got away from me. They were taken in 1995 following the implosion of the Alfred P. Murrah building.
According to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Survivor Tree is an American elm tree. On April 19, 1995, it survived the bomb’s blast, bearing witness to the horrific domestic terrorist attack that altered lives and changed Oklahoma City forever. Tragically, 168 people died in the blast including Jill, a girl I knew in college. We both attended Southern Nazarene University, a small liberal arts college in Bethany, Oklahoma.
The elm tree was badly damaged in the bombing and was almost chopped down in order to recover pieces of evidence caught in its branches. However, early on, a group of citizens noted its astonishing survival and began plans for its restoration and preservation. Today, the Survivor Tree thrives on the grounds of the National Memorial. It is a favorite stop for tourists and is featured in the Memorial’s logo.
The Journal Record Building
This is the Journal Record Building, which is across the street from the Bombing Memorial, the site of the former Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After I graduated from college, I went to work for the Journal Record. I was a journalist from 1990 to 1993, working onsite in the Office of Public Affairs at Tinker Air Force Base. In July 1993, I went to work in a writer/public affairs position on the base.
This is a picture of me in my Journal Record sweatshirt, which I won in a work contest. I’m holding my dog Zofia “Zofie” Zloty inside the Alta Vista, a historic apartment in Oklahoma City’s Mesta Park. Zofie, a Shetland Sheepdog, was a gift I gave to myself for college graduation. She died in 2002.
It’s hard to believe the bombing took place 25 years ago. In many ways, it feels much longer ago than that. Today, I know there are difficult days ahead because of the pandemic and all the political unrest. But only once in my life have I dreamed in black and white. It was in April 1995, after the bombing. The only other color in the dream was blood red.