Today marks seventeen years since the Murrah Building, and 168 innocents in Oklahoma City were destroyed by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh and others. It also is the 19th anniversary of the ATF invasion of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.
Whenever this date rolls around, being the egotistical being that I am, I remember these events at they personally applied to me.
On February 28, 1983, my cousin Blair and I were driving from Austin to our homes in Dallas. We’d made a weekend trip to visit my cousin JL to make plans for a wedding shower JL was throwing the following month for who is now known as The Ex and I. It was raining and the traffic on I-35 heading north came to a standstill near Salado, Texas. We exited and decided to get out in town, because Salado is one of those cute little towns with cute shopping, etc.
While we were in one of the cute little stores, one of the proprietors was watching TV on a little black and white portable. We asked if he knew what was going on with the traffic, and he said there was some kind of religious cult near Waco that was being invaded by the FBI.
Not the answer we expected.
So we waited it out, had lunch, did some more shopping, and headed back to Dallas after a few hours.
Thus began the 51 day media circus surrounding the event.
At that time, I was working at the JCPenney in Lewisville, Texas as a visual merchandiser. The VM workshop was just past a bank of TV displays and every day, they were tuned to the pasture outside the compound. It really became a non-story after a month or so.
Until April 19, 1993.
The Ex and I got married on April 17, 1993. Two days after the wedding, we were at the Dillard’s in North Park Mall in Dallas, redeeming gift certificates and exchanging wedding presents. We watched the compound burn down in the electronics department’s TV displays.
Hindsight being 20/20, I should have taken the timing of this event as a cosmic warning about my marriage.
When the Murrah Building came down, there was so much confusion at the very beginning. I have two very close friends who live in OKC, and immediately called them, but they had no more information than I, but they were both safe.
Of course later the entire world would know all the detail of this tragedy.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who links these events, but it does give me an annual reminder that I really have a good life. And, like Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, it can all come crashing down in an instant.