Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, amidst modern buildings and lively city life, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum stands. This local attraction is a poignant reminder of a tragic day in America's history, simultaneously symbolizing a nation's resilience and hope.

Background and Purpose

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was established to honor those who were killed, those who survived, and those who were changed forever by the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

  • 2000: The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is dedicated.
  • 2001: The Memorial Museum opens its doors to the public.

Outdoor Symbolic Memorial

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial consists of several components, each with a specific symbolic meaning:

  • Gates of Time: These twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 am – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial.
  • Reflecting Pool: A thin layer of water flows over polished black granite, providing a place for quiet reflection.
  • Field of Empty Chairs: 168 chairs hand-crafted from glass, bronze, and stone represent those who lost their lives, with a name etched in the glass base.

The Memorial Museum

The museum offers an interactive learning experience that takes visitors on a chronological self-guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995, and the following days, weeks, and years.

  • Chapter 1 - A Day Like Any Other: This chapter sets the scene for the day of the bombing.
  • Chapter 2 - Chaos: This chapter captures the confusion and chaos immediately after the bombing.
  • Chapter 3 - Rescue and Recovery: This segment tells the heroic stories of the first responders.
  • Chapter 4 - Justice: This part covers the investigation and trials that followed.

The Survivor Tree

An American Elm, known as the Survivor Tree, is a poignant symbol of human resilience. Despite the damage it sustained during the bombing, the tree stands strong, providing comfort and inspiration.

Educational Programs and Events

The memorial & museum offers a variety of educational programs. It hosts events throughout the year to promote its mission of teaching about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.

  • Better Conversations Series: A program to unite people to engage in meaningful dialogue.
  • Annual Remembrance Ceremony: An event to honor and remember those who were killed, those who survived, and those who were changed forever.


Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum serves as a testament to the resilience of a city and a nation following one of the most tragic events in American history. This local attraction in Oklahoma City provides a moving narrative of a horrific event and offers hope and inspiration.

Memorial & Museum is more than just a place of remembrance - it's a place of learning, reflection, and a commitment to a community's unyielding spirit. It stands as a beacon of healing, strength, and resilience, serving as an enduring symbol of the resilience of the human spirit.

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