04/21/05 — Pained memory: National tragedy still felt in Oklahoma and beyond

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Pained memory: National tragedy still felt in Oklahoma and beyond

We forget sometimes that even years after a national tragedy has passed from the front page to memory that there are people who will never forget and never recover, even though they, too, have moved on with their lives.

Such is the case when you remember the Oklahoma City bombing.

The anniverary passed April 19 with the notice that often goes along with an ominous anniversary of this type. Around the country, millions of Americans might have read a story and paused to remember where they were on the day so many died at the hands of one of their own.

But although most of us remember, few of us will ever really understand what it was like to be there, to live through the pain.

Oklahoma City remembers; and the pain is still fresh.

Watching the ceremonies from the bombing site was gut-wrenching. Family members and friends of those who were lost that day passed in front of a microphone and reminded us that there were people behind the names on that victim list.

And there were the good news stories, too. The baby rescued from the rubble, now a healthy, athletic 11-year-old, was one of many happy updates stemming from the day’s remembrances.

But what should touch our hearts and imprint on our memories is how one act so changed so many lives. The tears are still there. There are some people who still cannot even go back downtown. The pain is just too intense; the memories too powerful.

Oklahoma City will always be more personal for those who lived the tragedy. This is their dark day.

But as our nation starts to mark the anniversary with double digits, and the horror of April 19 becomes a more distant memory, it is with the names and faces of victims and stories from survivors that we can remember.

Published in Editorials on April 21, 2005 10:23 AM