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An Unlikely Monument

After volunteering to help with a cleanup project after the OKC bombing, something I saw seemed to compel me to tell its story.  This is a short tribute I wrote to honor the men, woman and children who lost their lives in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.  I pray it blesses you. Judy 

An Unlikely Monument

By Judy Bauman


The coffee pot is full.  Its clock reads 9:02 a.m.  It is a common sight as people all over the country start their day by brewing their favorite morning beverage.  They fill the reservoir with water, carefully place the filter, add their favorite blend, and finally set the knob to brew.  Within a few moments the machine begins to spurt and sputter and before long hot, steaming water flows through the finely ground, dark beans.  Its rich aroma fills the air and stimulates the senses.  An anticipated cup of coffee satisfies eagerly awaiting lips.  To many these quiet, simple moments are cherished; it is a peaceful time to organize the day's priorities and decide how to conquer the day's work ahead.  A second cup is poured and savored as was the first.  Soon the coffee is forgotten. The busy day is in full swing.


However, this pot of coffee is different.  No one enjoys the first cup because on April 19, 1995, everything that surrounds it is shattered.  A lethal explosion shook the very foundation of the small room where it sits in a busy YMCA facility.  The YMCA is located diagonally across from the Alfred P. Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City, OK.  Outside, emergency crews frantically help the terrified office workers search for one another.  Hundreds within the bomb's grip are injured. 168 persons were not as fortunate.  The rescue effort continues for many days. 


Three weeks after the bombing, YMCA staff members and one volunteer bravely face the ruins of the condemned YMCA building.  Boarded windows conceal the sunlight.  Illuminating beams from flashlights reveal what has transpired.  Fallen ceiling tile, hanging light fixtures, shards of broken glass, fractured brick, and crumbled plaster are the undeniable state of this once thriving facility.  Many of the solid wood doors leading into the offices are cracked in two and hang limply from their iron hinges.  An entire brick wall has fallen on the newly remolded gym floor. The stale, musty, humid air weighs as heavy as the worker's stunned hearts.  However, with heads held high, the task to retrieve equipment, records, and furniture is tackled with cheerful attitudes.  Unfortunately, most of their personal belongings are lost in the catastrophe.


The insignificant appliance is found standing motionless in a small, dark, demolished office.  Somehow it has escaped destruction.  Next to the moldy, fetid liquid lay a toppled wooden show case which once housed awards, trophies, childhood pictures, and other memorabilia.  The keepsakes are strewn about and buried in the debris from the blast's concussion.  Plaster that fell from the cinder block wall encompasses the unscathed coffee pot.  Defiantly, this full pot of coffee stands amidst the ruins ~ like a monument. 


Suspended in time, on a seemingly average morning, the fragile carafe serves as an icon to remind us each to appreciate and embrace the simple joys of life.  There is much to embrace. Will you see the simple blessings in your life and give thanks to God for them?  Or, will you go about your every day eating, sleeping, working, and walking around life, and take such things for granted?  The choice is yours.



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