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.

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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.

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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.

 

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The “Survivor Tree”. Photo by Dana Bicks LLC.

 

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Be A Beacon

….and How Can You Be A Beacon?

Be A Beacon
by Dana Bicks LLC

Romans 13:12 New International Version (NIV)

 “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” 

 

EDITOR’S NOTES:

How Can You Be A Beacon?

• Be careful of the words you speak.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29)

• Be thoughtful and considerate. Encourage others and do not gossip.
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31)

• Use social media cautiously, taking pride in the words you speak.

• Let social activities be a reflection of you walking in God’s light.


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Identity Theft

Identity Theft cover


Let us search the world and think of those in our lifetime who have sold their soul to be someone else. How many incidents are you aware of that someone was raised learning the word of God, but later, lost their identity? And what about those who talk-the-talk, but don’t walk-the-walk? We didn’t have to go very far, did we? Our lives are inundated with invented people who aren’t as they portray. I’ve seen too many backslide to someone I can’t recognize anymore.

One of America’s Most Wanted inmates was apprehended by FBI agents in South America. He was extradited back to the U.S. to stand trial and remains in prison on a thirty-year sentence. He asked for a Bible and began reading it, page by page. When he came to Matthew 16, it turned his life around. His ultimate goal today is to join the prison ministry helping other inmates involved in an identity of theft – losing their soul and worthiness.

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Let’s try to comprehend why good honest Christians revert away from what they know to be righteous and pure. Secular (worldly, non-spiritual) people are notorious for having ‘the good life’ – they do whatever they want to do, paying no mind to consequences. They’re engulfed in the good times and the next level of adrenaline rush. Who wants to waste a perfect Sunday in church or to work for the church? Isn’t that boring! So, I guess my big question now is – isn’t this clinging to a self-centered identity? Isn’t it ironic that those with the most material possessions and free spirit are the unhappiest? I think the root of the problem is a self-absorbed, ungodly pride which ultimately creates our loss of identity.

Another issue to consider may surround someone being influenced to question the validity of God. Doesn’t this make one narrow-minded? It appears that Satan stole the very soul of a smiling spirit. This is a topic that would make my blog three pages long, but in short, Jesus claimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This bold statement has never been spoken by any other great world religious leader. Can that be denied? His signs and His gifts are ever-present in this world for those who choose to receive their identity from God, but, it’s only through His holy name, Jesus Christ.

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Self-reflection and learning will bring us to our knees, friends. Isolation forces us to reconcile and deal with ourselves. It is by our faults and mess ups, confronting personal issues, that we enter the realm of learning our true identity. We need to deal with this for God to get us where we want to be. We’ve got to be believers who love God more than life itself!

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