On April 19, we Oklahomans always stop to remember. We remember the 168 who tragically lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. We remember the heroes that served and helped in the immediate and long-term aftermath.
Yes, today we remember.
At risk of showing my age, I remember that I was a student in high school in Bartlesville at the time of the bombing, sitting in driver’s ed class when I first heard that fateful news.
I wish I could say that I had some profound thoughts and prayers in those moments. I wish I could say that I did something historic or heroic like others. All I remember is feeling heartbroken for the lost lives, their families and for the people of Oklahoma City.
Fast forward to today, and those feelings are still with me. Having personally toured the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum, my heart still aches for what happens. At the same time, I feel so inspired when I remember the way our great state responded, giving birth to the Oklahoma Standard.
The events of April 19 stand alone as one of the darkest days in American history. But thanks be to God, darkness was overcome by light and love.
As we commemorate this anniversary, I recommend we do at least three things:
The children and students in school today were not alive at the time of the bombing. It is therefore important that they be taught what happened and how people responded.
Take time this day to talk to a young person. Share what you remember and share the God-moments that came in the aftermath.
With each life lost in the bombing, a family and circle of friends had their lives shattered. It is our job as Christians to continue to pray for those families affected by the events of April 19. We pray, like Psalm 34, that the LORD would be “close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit,” today and always.
We will never forget the images of firefighters and other first responders rushing to the scene to give help to the victims. We will never forget the scenes of these and other heroic acts.
As we remember those, let’s find ways to emulate them. Perhaps none of us will rescue someone from a disastrous scene. But we can quietly, faithfully be there for people who are suffering, like these heroes. Find a way to serve, all in the Name of Jesus.
As another April 19 is here, let us be resolved to remember, to pray and to serve in a way that honors the fallen, and that honors the very Lord Jesus who loves us and sustains us through even the darkest of days.