I was getting pretty bored in my hotel room, so I thought I'd go look around. Fortunately the Harley dealer in town was closing in five minutes or I'd probably have gone there and gotten yet another shirt. Instead I thought I'd mosey downtown and see the Oklahoma City National Memorial, that sits at the site of the old Murrah Federal Building that was destroyed by the bomb in 1995. It cooled off to the 80s, and Oklahoma is a "no helmet" state so it was nice to ride in a t-shirt and feel the wind. It took some winding around downtown to find it, but I have to say I was stunned. Words simply cannot do it justice. Like the Holocaust memorial, the Vietnam memorial and others, I got teary eyed. The designers created a masterpiece that both moves one to pause and reflect, and makes emotions rise to the surface. The memorial is on the footprint of the building -- parts of it made from reclaimed materials. It has one chair for the 167 people who died at 9:02am. The gate has 9:01 to reflect the moment before everything changed on one side of the reflecting pool. Like I said, word's don't do it justice -- and I'm speechless. I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. The words above the gate entrance say: "We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."
I wandered over to their older part of downtown -- it seems every city now is "rediscovering" it's old brick warehouses and making them a trendy new "district". In Denver it's LoDo (Lower Downtown), in Vancouver it's Gastown. In Seattle it's Pioneer Square. They all tend to be very similar in nature, and while I love the fact they do this, they can tend to run together with the same "chain" restaurants and shops. OKC's is "Bricktown", and they did this right too. It's got the AAA Baseball park, and a lot of nice non-chain restaurants. I had dinner at Micky Mantle's Steakhouse and enjoyed the band. However I'm anxious to get home. It's getting lonely on the road -- I've been out 10 days now, with four more to go.
I'm headed east now -- off up Route 66 on the last couple of segments, doing Bobby Troup's song in backwards order -- I saw San Bernadiino, Barstow, Kingman, and I didn't forget Winona. I rode through Flagstaff, and Gallup New Mexico. I saw Amarillo, and next up is Joplin, MO, then St. Louie, then Chicago. And Oklahoma City is "mighty pretty".
(More pictures of the memorial on my FaceBook album: www.facebook.com/album.php )