The Forgotten

A Dedication to Oklahoma City

The Forgotten cover


Philippians 3:20-21

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

It seems like the first day of spring with branches budding and birds bathing in the reflecting pond. Folks lounge commemorating the forgotten. They read the names of God’s children on the soot-caked wall that stands in infamy; sons and daughters that will live on in our hearts forever. A tear gently falls as I pause between the bronze plated walls. God’s presence is here – amongst the pines and the pond. A young ranger tries to make sense of it all, and he can’t give answers to the senseless ‘why?’ questions.

The Forgotten pic 1
The reflecting pond at Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

It was a beautiful morning, similar to an early summer day, and the employees paraded in holding their children’s hand. There was a State to run, and a daycare downstairs meant Mom was not very far away. But everything changed in a blink of a second. Just as so many times before they thought it was safe, a non-conspicuous van double parked by the entrance.

April 19, 1995, at 9:03 AM will live on in infamy.

Today, a young gentleman lays his hand in the blessed waters of the reflection pond and places his palm against the bronzed plated wall. I reverently observed, not wanting to ask about his connection to this sacred site. But it was clearly a tribute to God who is ever mindful of the innocent, but now lost. There is a special place held in heaven for these blessed children of this casualty.

I am touched to the core. Girls and boys of every color and creed were saved by grace that day. They take their place in the shade of a one-hundred-year-old elm tree – its limbs almost dead from the blast. I stand in the shadow and feel the presence of kids running hither and yon around my legs. The muffled laughter of children now resides with the Lord. He held their hands and guided them away to the promised land. God bless every child and their families involved in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

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The “survivor tree”. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC

EDITOR’S HISTORY NOTES:

This true narrative was written based on a recent visit to the historical site of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing – Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This beautiful and serene site is dedicated to its 168 victims who were in the building, a woman in the parking lot across the street, a rescue worker struck in the head by debris, and three others in adjoining buildings.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, ex-army companions, plotted this travesty to show revenge for the US Federal Government’s participation in the burning of Waco. Before his decision to bomb the building, he considered assassinating some government officials involved in the Waco incident but later felt his message of disdain would be better perceived if many people were killed. So, McVeigh considered government buildings in Missouri, Arizona, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

McVeigh and Nichols purchased or stole the fertilizer and chemicals needed to bomb the building. Four days prior to the attack, he rented a Ryder truck using an alias name and parked a getaway car several blocks from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. His original plan was to destroy the building at 11 AM but that morning Timothy, instead, chose 9 AM. With 4,800 pounds of explosives, and a manila envelope carrying pages from The Turner Diaries, he detonated two bombs at 9:03 AM. It could be heard and felt up to 55 miles away. Ninety minutes later, McVeigh was stopped on an interstate for driving a vehicle without a license plate and having a concealed weapon.

On June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed by lethal injection. Terry Nichols stood trial twice and now serves a life sentence, without chance of parole.

The National Park Service’s memorial site is at the location of the bombing. Before entering the grounds, a chain link fence displays hundreds of notes, pictures, teddy bears, etc. left in commemoration of the many children who passed away from this senseless act.

The Forgotten Pic 2

Besides the empty chair monuments which represent every fallen victim, a reflecting pond was created to allow time for visitors to reflect on this historical moment. On the opposite side, still stands “the survivor tree,” a one-hundred-year-old American Elm. Two years after the bombing, an arborist saved its life, so today it stands to remind us that life continues after tragedy.

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Empty chair monuments representing each fallen victim. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

 

The Forgotten Pic 4
The “Survivor Tree”. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

 

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Facing East

Obscure details of facing east and swans….

Facing East cover


The tall tree trunks somberly stood alone. I wondered if evil lied under the fallen leaves and decomposed twigs. Even the heavens were shaded in the dark by the bark as branches lurched toward me. I turned my back toward the dark, fearing the worst, and prayed as another sun poised on the horizon. My God, my God! Where is the respect for mankind?

I found my place as though I was in an arena. The first act was about to begin. The curtains drew up on the stage and lights glowed. It was inconceivable to me that a horizontal stage could ever look so beautiful. I impatiently waited. I wondered how many more suns God would permit me to enjoy before it’s my turn. The world was flat as far as the eye could see, but I remained optimistic that He would protect His chosen forever. I sat alone and watched, wondering, and waiting…

Not a sound did I make for I could wake the earth. I waited on the heavens to prevail as though the world remained still. Was this Jesus’s second coming? Maybe it was time, so I prayed. Sitting in His awesomeness, I clutched my soul. I knew my Father from above was present. The rays of heaven shone in my direction. It was too late to prepare, so I accepted the inevitable. I called your name to share in the phenomena, but you couldn’t hear me. So, I rose to the occasion and stood still yet not a sound, nor a ripple came from the waters below.

In all the holiness of dawn, I asked God if it was time, yet the silence persisted. A gentle hint of something in the air invaded the chemistry. Then a wedge of swans took off from around the point and mallards scattered from the noise. A sweat erupted from within me. I guess I was wrong – it wasn’t today!

From this day forward, I remain vigilant, facing east, for I know God’s Son is not far from making a grand entrance. His perfect stage is right here beneath my feet, and I never knew it until now.

 


EDITOR’S NOTES:

Upon reading this beautiful piece, I did some religious research on the direction of facing east and swans. The author, Dana, and I was surprised to find out the following information after he wrote it. Seemingly obscure details can teach us something.

 

The Significance of Facing East and Swans

Tombstones are often placed facing east to see the past and present. You will see God coming at the rapture. If you want to move onward to heaven, you must travel westward now, towards a future with God. The east is the source of blessings and divine salvation only on earth.

graves

 

Christian churches were built with their entrances facing west so that worshipers faced east during the services as they looked toward the altar.

The Garden of Eden from Genesis was entered into from the east, facing west. People exited west, facing the east.

In Matthew 24:27, Jesus details what happens in His Second Coming.

Facing East bible verse

 

Clergy members are buried facing west. An educated guess signifies that when the dead are risen, clergy will rise facing their congregations, ready to lead their people once again.

 

The symbolism of swans signifies spiritual devotion and the presence of angels. They give you wisdom and guidance you need at the moment.

Facing East swan

The swan acts as a messenger of faith.

The swan symbolizes the end of one’s life.

 


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In The Name of Love

and….Signs of the End Times

TEST 2


Signs of the End Times As Told In The Bible:

Deception: Many people will claim to be the Messiah.

Disputes Among Nations: The Bible says that as we move toward the End Times, there will be constant talk of conflicts, border skirmishes, race wars, and national battles.

Devastation: As we get closer to the End Times, there will be more and more famine, earthquakes, and pestilence.

Persecution of Christians: We are seeing this happen today with the rise of ISIS and their attacks on Christians in the Middle East.

In The Name of Love


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God Cries With Us

God will help us all to try to recover from this history…..


God Cries With Us Part 1

I listen to the rain as it dances on my rooftop…. and God cries with us.

 

God Cries With Us Part 2

But now I see…. God cries with us.

 

God Cries With Us Part 3

Reverently our hearts are one. Harmonizing our battle cry we will never salute those who sit and do nothing….as God cries with us.

 

God Cries With Us Part 4

We must unite….as our God cries with us.

 

God Cries With Us Part 5

Knowing times like these…. even God cries with us.

 


God Cries With Us 1

A Mother’s Hell

When you find yourself in a dark hour of trial, lean into God. That is where you will find strength, hope, and courage.


Long before her minstrel or thoughts of cotillion…. do we ever know the magnitude of the tribulations and trials our parents went through as children? Cell phones and computers were words of nonexistence. But almost a hundred years ago, a mother, scorned as a child, lived with a scar that not even God could change.

In the West Virginia hills, a family of five barely thrived as the coal mines were the heartbeat of the nation. Raising children was an experience that, well, anyone who can read could never imagine. Muddy roads, outhouses and central air from a pot belly were the only conveniences of life. It was here, in a Berkeley community, that a disaster of enormous proportion occurred. A Mother's Hell 2

At the tender age of four, this mother’s tiny brother slips under the water in a bathtub as she reached for a towel. Scorned for life-changing circumstances, the mourning family was cursed. The Mom and Dad divorced and on a rainy, cold Monday morning, they packed up the Packard and moved away to Baltimore.

As God tried to comfort, the scars remained, but life went on. A broken family finds little peace. Faith is blocked, and the Holy Spirit is not received anymore. The mother remarried, and the dad heads to Greensboro. Now torn, two sisters parade into the Presbyterian….numb and bearing the shame every Sunday.

That little sister now lies beside her brother and joined in heaven where only God can heal the sorrow. In forever eternal love, God has wrapped His arms around them both.

As He lovingly looked down at His little children, He smiled and said — “All is forgiven”.

 

Please enjoy this video from Pastor Greg Laurie and Steven Chapman on pain and grief.  Know you are never alone……..

 

 


Related Verses:

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36)