When I was at the University of Central Oklahoma I was lucky enough to have some Theta Xi sisters willing to show me around town. I went on a campus tour, ate at some delicious restaurants, and had the opportunity to see the Oklahoma City Bombing National Memorial & Museum.
Fun Fact #1: University of Central Oklahoma’s campus is on track to be considered a botanical garden! The campus is covered with many different kinds of plants and flowers, and although I had no idea what everything was, it was pretty cool seeing some cacti on campus!
Fun Fact #2: The clock tower [right hand side of the picture] is the oldest sandstone building in Oklahoma.
Fun Fact #3: UCO has 5 outdoors classrooms! Some professors take their students outside to sit amphitheater style and learn! [Bottom middle of the picture.]
Eating My Way Through Oklahoma
I must say I have been pretty spoiled with delicious restaurant options growing up in New York City and living in Miami. So it came as a surprise to me – no offense, Oklahoma – that Oklahoma has some really great restaurants! I went to a ton of places, but my two favorites were Pops and S&B’s Burger Joint.
Pops is famous for having hundreds of different kinds of soda (yes, I am from the Northeast and do say “soda”) and for their huge soda bottle outside! Some flavors were cookie dough, maple smoked bacon, and “Barack O’Berry.”
S&B’s Burger Joint was amazing. Before I dive into describing the deliciousness, on the top left of this picture is a strange – but intentional – picture of ice. All of the Oklahoma restaurants I went to had tiny circles of ice instead of big cubes or chips. As an avid ice-chewer – sorry, dentist – this was awesome. Anyway, so at S&B’s we ordered Thanksgiving Fries – sweet potato fries with melted marshmallow and craisins! I will definitely attempt to make these this Thanksgiving. For my burger, I had the Elvis Burger. It appears to be a normal burger – beef patty, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, bun – but the sauce on the burger was… melted peanut butter! It sounds weird and I was hesitant to order, but I figured why not?! It was definitely a good choice, and if I’m ever in Oklahoma again, I can’t wait to try their other crazy burgers.
On a more serious note, I visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial and toured the museum during my visit. On April 19, 1995 at 9:02AM, 4000 pounds of explosives sitting in a truck right outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was detonated. As a result, 14 buildings were taken down and 168 people died. It was later discovered that Timothy McVeigh was behind the attack (read more here).
The memorial and the museum are a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
Some memorial features include a reflecting pool, the Field of Empty Chairs (pictured below), and the Survivor Tree. The chairs represent the people that died and the height of the chair represents whether or not the deceased is an adult or a child. The Survivor Tree is a tree on the north side of the Memorial that survived the blast and continues to thrive.
|This picture tells a sliver of Miss Baylee Almon’s story. Baylee celebrated her first birthday the day before the bombing. She was at the America’s Kids Day Care Center when the bomb went off.|
The museum is set up to take the attendees through the events that day and the immediate aftermath. First, you go through a room about history of the Murrah Building. Then you sit in a room and listen to an actual recording of a hearing taking place on April 19th at 9AM. Two minutes later, at 9:02, you hear the explosion and the reaction of the people in the room. The doors open to your right, you walk through the rest of the museum and experience a taste of the aftermath. You see damaged personal items from the day of, read about survivors and family members of the deceased, and watch old news footage from around the world.
The museum is carefully designed for each attendee to feel a part of the tragedy that happened on April 19th. As you exit the museum, a wall reads,
“May those who leave here know the impact of violence.”
I am thankful for having the opportunity to see the museum and learn more about the Oklahoma City Bombing. It is important for all of us to remember those lost due to terrorism on more days than just anniversaries and to make strides to understand the impact of violence.
Thank you, Oklahoma City & Theta Xi sisters, for a wonderful visit. I hope to see you again!