I Heard the Bomb.

I Heard the Bomb. August 14, 2022

Rescue Team 5 remembers the victims who died in the bombing. A rescue team left a message during rescue efforts in the aftermath of bombing. Source: Wikimedia Commons, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Attribution: Grant985


I heard the bomb. The blast rattled the windows of my house. 

I heard the explosion, heard it continue rumbling after the initial crack. I didn’t know what it was, didn’t know that the extended sound was the building, pancaking down. 

My three-year-old and I exchanged looks. “What was that?” I said. 

We had just taken my husband, his father, to work so that we could have the family car for the day. The drive had taken us past the federal building. Minutes ago, we would have been in the explosion. We didn’t know that then. 

I called my husband at his office in the Oklahoma Health Department a few miles east of the federal building. “Did you feel the earthquake?” he said. “Our whole building swayed.” 

My mother, who lived 40 miles north, called me. “Turn on your tv.” 

I did, and there it was. 

A few minutes later my sister called me. Her husband was a police officer. “It was a bomb,” she said. “Stay home.” 

I argued with her, insisting that it must have been a boiler exploding or a gas leak or … anything but something that someone had deliberately done. But she was sure. “Addison said it was explosives. A bomb. They don’t know if there will be more. Stay home.” 

I hung up, and all I could think about was my son, in first grade. I grabbed the keys, took my three year old by the hand and headed for the door. Before I got there, my husband walked in. The governor had told all state employees to go home. He’d gotten a ride with a co-worker. 

We got our oldest baby and huddled around the tv for the rest of the day. I remember being unable to sleep that night. I just lay there and tried to rewind it all, to undo it, to take us back to before, when little babies and innocent office workers were alive and well. 

The names of the dead came slowly after that first day. People we knew personally. Other people we knew by sight. We banked at the federal credit union, knew the tellers who died by sight. My husband worked with people who’d died, had spoken to them just days before. People who went to our church. People who lost their mothers and children and fathers and friends. We knew people who were injured and might not live. 

Our parish priest went to the bomb site. We knew nurses and doctors who were there, police and firefighters who investigated it and tried to rescue people. 

We watched as the feds came in. It took them all day to get here, then the city was full of military presence and media and the feel of them being here locked on. 

Decades later, I have never visited the bomb site memorial. I don’t think I ever will. I drive by it. But I don’t go in. My husband went. Once. He had to leave. He tells everyone not to go there, that it is haunted. 

I still know the names of the dead. I pray with survivors who have the limp, the brain injury, the scars of that day. I know that it wasn’t ever the same again. People lost their homes, trying to pay medical bills. People who lose children and family to hate-filled evil aren’t ever the same again. Cities and communities who go through this are changed, as well. The bleeding stops. But old wounds ache when the political weather signals insanity and violence coming on.

I don’t want to do this again. I know that we are heading into something terrible if the right wing media doesn’t stop deliberately hyping hatred and hysteria in their followers with lies and invective. 

If they don’t cool it, we’re going to be picking up pieces of people in the streets. 

I heard the bomb go off. It rattled the windows of my house. It whip-sawed the ten-story building where my husband worked so hard that loose purses and books slid on the floor. 

I remember the horror when my sister said “It’s a bomb.” 

I remember lying in bed and thinking “Somebody wanted to do this. Somebody plotted and planned and worked to do … this.” I couldn’t get my mind around it, couldn’t grok the reality that a human being thought this was something to invest themselves in and actually do. 

I’ve seen the grief. I felt the harm. I know that time doesn’t heal it. Not really. It stays with you, and when the media talking heads ramp up hatred, and incite violence in order to get ratings and pile up $$$ for themselves, the old injury aches. It throbs like an old break of the bone when the weather is going to change. 

A storm is coming. That’s what that ache in the bones signals. That’s what this ache in the heart is also signaling. A storm is coming. A storm that nobody wants to see or live through. 

Bear with me while I repeat myself. We’re going to be picking up pieces of people off the streets. 

We’re going to see smoke and ruin and sobbing family members, shattered bodies, ruined lives and grief that never completely stops. 

We the People are being deliberately hyped by right wing monsters with media megahorns into a frenzy of wrathful crazy. In many instances, they are doing this to hide their own criminality, their own collusion in graft, corruption and treason. They’re doing it for ratings and money and power. They’re doing it for every evil impulse that can degrade human souls. And their end game is death. 

If the right wing media won’t stop their fear-mongering, hate promoting, lying invective, then turn them off. 

Choose life. 

Before death chooses you. 

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