Sunday, April 19, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder: Remembering April 19, 1995

ORIGINAL POST DATE  JANUARY 19, 2020

For those who took time to read, and those who may have missed my original post, please join me in remembering the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City Bombing.



Twenty-five years ago on a mild spring morning, an explosion rocked downtown Oklahoma City. I worked the night shift at the time, less than a mile from the Alfred P. Murrah Building.  I’d only been outside a moment when the bomb shattered windows for blocks, shaking the ground under my feet. To say the sound was deafening is an understatement. The front half of the nine-story building collapsed, top-to-bottom. One hundred sixty-eight lives ended abruptly at 9:02 am that Wednesday. 




For those who lost family and friends, the absence of their loved ones surely remains constant. Survivors carry scars and painful memories. First Responders can recall every detail of that day and the countless hours spent searching for survivors. Hours turned into days as rescue became recovery. Their bravery is not forgotten.








Kim Clark was a friend of mine. While we weren’t extremely close, we shared a common interest. She was engaged to my ex-boyfriend. They were only weeks from their wedding date. I hadn’t seen her since we shared Thanksgiving together at a mutual friends’ home. She worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the eighth floor of the building.  I try not to think about what that moment was like for her. My hope has been that her death was immediate. Kim was 39 years old.






While I rarely discuss that day, I never forget.  Every time  I see a Ryder truck, I remember.  When I’m in Oklahoma, the memorial is always part of my visit. I sit on steps by the reflecting pool and watch the sun set.  If the weather is cold, I bundle up and walk around for a while.  I’ll stop at the 8th row chair reserved in Kim’s honor.  It’s surreal to walk on the grass among the 168 empty chairs and realize this is ‘ground zero’; this was death.  It’s hard to fathom the destruction and loss. The park is  a peaceful place to pause and appreciate life.




This year the OKC Thunder is remembering with all Oklahomans. Since 2008, team ownership has required new staff and players tour the Memorial to experience and understand what is now known as “The Oklahoma Standard” (service,  honor and kindness;  a resilient spirit wrapped in goodwill and compassion.)  The Thunder has partnered with the OKC National Memorial and Museum to underwrite a new exhibit highlighting this standard. The team will cover admission costs on the 25th of every month of 2020.  They’ve created a special uniform scheduled to be worn several times this year, and displayed in the exhibit.


The uniforms are black with Oklahoma City in gold letting on the front. There are gold bars running top-to-bottom on the sides representing the ‘gates of time’.  The times 9:01 and 9:03 appear on the vent portion of the shorts. The ‘survivor tree’ is found on the belt of the shorts. A blue ribbon can be found inside the jersey with the words “We Remember Those Who Were Changed Forever, April 19, 1995.”



Now living in Michigan, I won’t have the opportunity to participate in any special giveaways that might be a part of the current basketball season.  I have no friends in OKC who attend the games.  I don’t collect basketball cards so am asking for your help. I won’t have basketball to trade in return.  Please, keep me in mind should you find any Thunder cards specifically honoring the victims, or memorial.  I’m not collecting regular Thunder basketball as I don’t follow the sport.  I’m reaching out to you for assistance. This is more than a ‘wantlist’ request. It is deeply personal to me.

courtesy of Google Images

I’m seeking any Thunder memorabilia from the current season (2019-2020) specific to the Memorial, or trading cards which clearly feature the special Thunder jersey being worn this year. I realize these cards likely won’t make their appearance until much later this year, or early next.  Should they be available, I’d like to add relics featuring the Survivor Tree, Blue Ribbon and/or the Time portion of the shorts. As these are larger pieces, I fear they'll be too expensive for my budget. 

If you are ever in Oklahoma City, please take a few hours to explore the museum and walk along the reflecting pool. I try to time my visit to the Memorial with sunset. The chairs are illuminated from dusk to dawn. It's an especially moving tribute those who perished, as the memory of each soul burns forever brightly in the hearts and minds of their loved ones. 





Would you please take a few moments to review the links throughout this post? 
Thank you for reading.

*all photos are my own except uniform as noted above

26 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your friend.

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  2. Had no idea about your personal ties to the OKC bombing, Julie. Can't even comprehend what that must've been like. I don't collect basketball but I'll keep an eye out for any of those special Thunder cards for you.

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  3. I had no idea you experienced that. How horrible...although I've thankfully never experienced a terror attack in person, I know at some point I will visit the September 11th Memorial and museum in Manhattan...that's going to be a tough day. If I get any of these cards, you will be on the receiving end of them. No need to send anything back. Panini has made an effort to show all the different jerseys worn during the season, so there's a good chance they will appear...most likely in 2020-21 Hoops. Also, if you know when they will be worn, the Panini Instant line may cover them, although $10 a card...it would ensure it comes right to your door direct from Panini. I've ordered from Instant several times and they pack very well also.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Billy. I know you'll likely see some basketball too, so I appreciate you keeping me in mind - and for the info on Panini.

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  4. Amazingly thoughtful and profound post about a very tragic day for our country and it's aftermath--I'm not sure that I will be able to help with your request but I'll definitely keep my eyes open.

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    1. BBC, I appreciate that you took time to read and comment. I never expected to write about this moment but felt quite compelled after news about the Thunder connection.

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  5. I'm not a basketball collector either, but I'll keep an eye peeled when I'm at shows. This was a very touching post. All the best.

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  6. Wow. That was powerful. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Matt, thank you for reading. This post was different for me.

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  7. Beautiful tribute. I'm sure it wasn't easy sharing this painful memory with your readers, but I assure you it was much appreciated. I've read some really touching tributes on 9/11 that put my life in perspective. This is one of those posts. Best of luck on acquiring cards featuring the Survivor Tree. I don't buy basketball too often, but my buddy does. I'll ask him to keep an eye out for any.

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    1. thank you for the kind words, Fuji. I had an emotional moment watching the Survivor Tree video. Hard to believe it's been 25 years. Any help at all tracking down these cards once they're available is greatly appreciated.

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  8. I'm liking the new non-card content, but hopefully we can some slightly cheerier non-card content at some point. It's hard to believe that you were so near this attack, as well as that giant tornado, and were able to remain unscathed... almost like someone's been watching over you :)

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    1. I'll work on a little lightheartedness next time. There were two giant tornadoes. One took my dad's business, the other - 25 lives. One of those persons was Rick Jones, a fellow I worked with at the post office. The storm in 1999 came closest to my home, within three miles. Considering it was a mile wide, I was quite fortunate. And yes, I do feel a touch of Providence in my life. :) Thanks for your encouragement.

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  9. Thanks for sharing and for the links to the museum. Much more detailed than i thought it would be. We were on the way down to visit family in Texas when we stopped in OKC. We were driving around when we came upon the lot where the building once stood. It just so happened to be the day that Nichols was sentenced to life so there was media and new memorials all along the fences. We didn't know because we were driving all day, but it was certainly a sobering experience.

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    1. thank you for taking time to read and explore the links. I struggle with the death penalty as I don't believe it's a true deterrent. On a personal level however, I feel Nichols got a light sentence, even if he is serving life without parole. The a large section of memorial fence is still there and well-worth a stop on the tour.

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  10. Such a senseless and terrible tragedy. As much as I look back on the '90s fondly, at the time it felt like the world was falling apart - Waco, the (first) World Trade Center attack, Columbine, and the OKC bombing. I was aware that the Thunder have their players visit the site but I didn't know about the memorial patches they're wearing. If I come across any Thunder cards with those featured I will certainly send them your way. The survivor tree is truly amazing.

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    1. Chris, thanks so much for the support! It would seem impossible our country could experience so many tragedies in one decade. Mass shootings and bomb threats are the new normal. I had no idea my younger years would now be considered the good old days.

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  11. Sobering and somber... I admit, over the years I'd lost perspective on how devastating this was. Thank you for sharing, Julie.

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    1. Thanks for taking time to read, friend. I was taken aback by my emotions when wrapping this post up with links. It had been several years since I'd watched news video. My mind still wants to believe it wasn't real.

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  12. Came to the blog this morning to read this post again. It was gone. Glad to see you posted it again. Much appreciated. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for remembering, Fred. I pulled it last night to have it repost at 9:02am today. I watched the virtual 25th Anniversary Remembrance live from the memorial this morning. It was well done. I found it poignant that at the 25 year mark, the event truly is moving into history. Over half the people living in Oklahoma now were not alive then or living elsewhere.

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    2. A year later. Still worth reading on the 26 year mark. Thanks.

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  13. I had no idea about the cards featuring those logos. I may have to look through to see if i have any from that year and will absolutely pass them along. Great post and tribute. (clap hands emoji)

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