I was a senior at Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City. I had just finished up my 1st hour ethnic studies class and was at my locker getting ready to head to psychology. I could hear the usual "between class" sounds of voices talking and locker doors slamming shut. But on this day I noticed something differernt: worried looks on faces, a more subdued sound of whispers, and people standing together in groups. Something was going on.
"Did you hear that a bomb went off downtown?" My friend Meagan asked, bringing me back into reality.
I couldn't wrap my brain around that statement. Not then. I still didn't get it yet. I told my friend no, then grabbed my books and scurried off to my next class. During that class, people were still whispering about a bomb going off, but no one really knew was what going on yet. Our teacher kept telling us to be quiet, but I could tell that even he was worried and unsure. It wasn't until I arrived to my 3rd hour class that my teacher finally wheeled out a television and turned on the news. And I finally got it. A bomb went off. A really bad one. I saw horrible images of a building ripped apart, firemen and EMT first responders were sweating and bloody. News reporters were on the scene, but were clearly shaken up. People had died. Children had died. Someone had done this on purpose, and I just sat there in shock watching the screen.
School was let out early that day. Many students had parents who worked in the Alfred P. Murrah building or in the surrounding area and they were visably upset. I was so thankful that no one I knew worked or was visiting the area, so I just went straight home and sat numb in front of the tv all afternoon until my mom came home from work. I was so thankful to see her even though I knew she wasn't anywhere near the area.
I can't believe fifteen years has come and gone so quickly. So many things have happened. I went to college, got married, had an eight year teaching career, traveled overseas, and had three children! But April 19, 1995 remains clearly fixed in my memory. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel that day (much like I can when I remember 9/11).
For my parents' generation, the question was Where were you when JFK was assassinated? But for my generation (and especially those of us who lived in Oklahoma at the time), the question is and has been Where were you on April 19, 1995?
Do you remember that day? If so, where were you?
PS. Just to lighten things up....you want to see a picture of me when I was a senior in high school? I know you do. So here you go: