In one of the most devastating acts of domestic terrorism on American soil, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed. Constructed in 1977 and containing regional government offices, it was sheared by a massive explosion at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995.
Following investigation and recovery, the structure’s remains were demolished roughly a month later, as were two other heavily damaged buildings across the street. The entire 3.3-acre site subsequently became home to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, a place to honor the victims, survivors and rescue workers.
Just as the world responded from near and far to assist Oklahoma City in the tragedy’s aftermath, the memorial committee searched near and far for the finest building materials. One significant element is the use of the memorial chairs — conceptualized in honor of the 168 people who were killed — and handcrafted from glass, bronze and stone. Granite panels on which the survivors’ names are etched were salvaged from the Murrah Building, as were the stones that make up the granite path surrounding the field of empty chairs.
But the most striking element is the twin bronze gates that serve as the entrance, bridged by a reflecting pool. Outside each gate appears this inscription:
We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.