The story of April 19, 1995 does not simply begin or end that day. The story originates years earlier in out-of-the-way places most people never even knew existed. It is not only the story of a small group of individuals or their anger at the United States Federal Government. It is not only the story of 168 lives lost, nor the hundreds of survivors. It is more than that. It is the story of how a nation came together and continues to come together in times of great tragedy. With the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the story of United States history changed forever.
We can learn from the broad range of stories coming from this national tragedy. We learn from survivors about trauma and recovery. We learn about rescuers' and their four-legged companion's willingness to help. We learn the lesson of compassion from a nation suddenly devastated by terror. We learn that healing comes in stages through justice, a recognized need for prevention, the concern of others, and the creation of a place of remembrance. With the passage of time the story continues to grow and change.
April 19th is not the first time the United States suffered terrorism, nor sadly the last. The events of September 11, 2001 reinforced the knowledge that the United States is not free from the reach of extremists. However, these events teach that at times the rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are tested.¹ When these natural rights are threatened "We the People" are left with only one response…how we choose to react.²
¹ Declaration of Independence
² Constitution of The United States of America