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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The Silenced

A Christian’s View of Domestic Violence

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In the solitude, I listen to the temper of many contained in an environment of unforgiving. I, too, stand in the congregation and see the smiles like fake news. I wonder if your joy may be camouflaged. You look so pretty dressed up in your Sunday attire; your hair is curled – “putting on the dog”, it was once called. But I watch the language of your husband as he hums along with the choir, forgetting the words. He stares over to see who you’re watching in the congregation. Like blinders on a horse, your eyes only focus forward. The pastor speaks his last words, “Go in peace,” and you’re the first out the door.

Arriving home, the bedroom door slams and his ultimate persuasiveness begins like a lecture from the pulpit. You just can’t wait until Monday morning when you hand him his lunch pail, turn your cheek, and wish him well. So you build a world where no one’s allowed, only God and he’s on hold. Your world has caved while looking for an escape from the abuse that never takes a break. Dinner is on the table and he is tied to your apron strings. You begin to recite grace, but it does no good.

 

Psalm 11:5
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

 

The week begins just like the last week ended – accusations and demands coming from malice. He’s his father’s son. Only his mother knows the hell she put up with when he was very young. Like the family farm, the recipe is passed on. The abuse becomes intolerable, and love becomes a routine. Romance is a world you built deep within your mind. There’s no peace on the outside as Dr. Jekyll thrives. You tiptoe like a child that comes in after curfew.

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Domestic violence comes in many shapes, not necessarily gender oriented or form. I, too, share the pain as many on the outside never saw the trauma I lived at home. Give your suffering to God for it is the only way out! Living with scars of a broken home resonates for generations, both past, and present.

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I read the clips of those I know are mistreated by their family and peers. Where has God gone when the choir begins? Your sacraments of holiness are never enough. Being judged by a dirty microscope shows every blemish. Who, though, are we to make that call just because that’s way it used to be? You become a person with little left for God to see. You’re whittled to the size of a toothpick and pray for a mustard seed.

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But as the sun breaks through upon your escape, you will discover there is another world….one of love and beauty. God anoints the living. You call it “a lease on life” – getting out of the web Satan held you captive in for many years. Yes, this is the works of Satan and his angels!

 

Remember you’re not alone! Reach out to the non-judgmental and let our almighty Lord renew you from the inside out. Praise God! He has saved you so serve others in His name. God’s desire for those involved with domestic violence—both victims and abusers—is healing and wholeness.

You are loved! God bless, God speed…….

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A Christian’s View of Domestic Violence

 

Why would God allow such a thing to happen to me?? Does God really love me?? Where was He when I was being abused? Why God, can’t you help me to change him/her?? I’m a Christian – I can’t leave!

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All are justifiable questions that “the abused” do ask. Understand that abusers have unresolved issues that have led them to violence, perhaps routing back to childhood. If an abuser is willing to admit his or her wrongful deeds and desires help, there is hope. But it is important to know that the vast majority of them do not feel the problem is within themselves. Marriage counseling is not an appropriate solution. So healing has to begin with YOU!

 

1 Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

 

Undergo individual counseling, especially Christian counseling, to go through the healing process. If children are involved, family therapy. Children should never be put into an abusive situation or be expected to remain in one! Watching or hearing a parent being abused will have severe psychological implications. They learn by example so let them witness you taking the lead.

Psalm 127:3

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”

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Join a support group with other survivors. “Outsiders”, cannot understand the web you broke through so look for love and comfort from those who can identify with your situation.

 

Allow time to heal before starting another relationship. The magic formula is half the time you spent within the walls of that confinement.

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Read anything and everything you can about domestic violence – particularly books of narcissism. Seek understanding.

 

 

Serve our Lord! Join bible study groups at church; if financial means allow, take a mission trip; help the poor by participating in homeless shelters; sit with Seniors at nursing homes. You will find your worth, once again, in others.

Matthew 20: 26-28

Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”

 

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Local police stations can take you and your children to a shelter for assistance. Safety is first!

Psalm 72:14
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.