For those who do not know, most weekends I work for a company called Julien and Lambert Photo photographing different events.
This weekend, I had an event to photograph in Norman, Oklahoma. While I enjoyed the event (a dog show), what I most enjoyed about this weekend is actually what I did after hours. Our hotel was conveniently 20 minutes from the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial where my friend and co-worker, Jon went and did some night photography.
The OKC bombing memorial was built in remembrance for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April 1995. The memorial is made up of three main components:
1. The Gates of Time: Two ginormous bronze gates on either side of the memorial. The Eastern gate is marked with 9:01 the moment the bombing began which symbolizes the last moments of peace. The Western gate is marked with 9:03 the minute the bombing ended to symbolize the beginning of recovery.
2. The Reflecting Pool: A thin layer of water that flows from east to west down the middle of the memorial. Even though the water is flowing, it is shallow enough to reflect images of the two gates and any visitors looking in.
3. The Field of Empty Chairs: 168 chairs made of glass, bronze and stone stand empty to represent the empty chairs at a dinner tables of the victims. Each chair is etched with a name of one who passed away in the bombing. The chairs are arranged in nine rows to represent the nine floors of the building.
As a young kid, my mom brought me to the memorial because it is an important piece of Oklahoma history. Although I was not able to fully grasp the concept of where I was standing, I knew it was very important and sad.
It had been years since I had even thought about the memorial, but as Jon and I drove to Norman, he mentioned wanting to do some night photography, and I’m glad he did. The first thing I thought of was the memorial.
We arrived at the memorial Saturday night after we got off work, and it was just as powerful as I remembered as a child.
I hope the photos I took properly represent the level of respect I have for the thoughtfulness of this memorial.