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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle

I was slow at getting ready this morning, prefering to stay in bed and drink the hotel-provided coffee while listening to the local new. The new OK govenor got inaugurated today at the State Capitol and an arctic freeze is due by this weekend. Glad I won't be in the area by then!

Soon after I got up I got a mini migraine though, the second one this week. These are starting to worry me. They are always right behind the eyes and give me vision difficulties, and that is not good when I have to drive.

Perhaps it was the worry about my headache that kept me from thinking straight once in the city. I parked at the new federal building (thinking that was the actual Monument!) and started taken pictures of the star sculptures there. A guard came outside asking me what i was doing with my "professional camera." Professional camera? A Canon Rebel takes excellent photographs but it's far from a "professional camera." I was not about to argue with an armed guard, though.

"Isn't this the OKC Monument?" I asked. He informed me that I was at the wrong building and that the real Monument was across the street and one block down. He was able to point at it from inside the security check where he had taken me to get my ID. Unfortunately, since I hadn't expected to get detained (!) I had kept my wallet inside the van. I wrote down my full name and address and that seemed to satisfy the guard. He let me go and I quickly ran to the real Monument, hiding my embarrassment.

I only had 30 minutes in the parking meter and ten minutes were spent being held bu the guard. Everything after my release was fast. How could I have missed the real Monument anyway? Once at the real spot I recognized the chainlink fence that in the summer of 1995 still had stuffed animals and kids' toys tied to the makeshift memorial. Only one side of that chainlink fence now remains; the rest of the perimeter fence is gone and a more eye-appealing park stands in its place.

The monument seemed heavily guarded: more park rangers than usual it seemed walked around, willing to answer any questions for the passers-by. The old brick building that stood behind the bombed-out building now houses a museum where entry is $10 an adult. Why, though, would someone want to pay $10 to be reminded of that tragic event on 19 April 1995 when 169 people, including many children, died?

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