We parked across the street from the serenity pool and the two massive free-standing walls that act as gateways to the site of where the Oklahoma City Federal Building once stood. Perfectly manicured gardens and lawns conceal a place that on April 19, 1995 had been an area of total chaos and destruction.
It almost felt wrong to be so at peace at a place that has brought so many others pain and loss.
We read up on Timothy McVeigh's motives behind the terrorist act and thought how ignorant he was to hurt so many innocent people to prove a point about the over-infringement of government on individual's rights while he himself robbed 168 individuals of their right to live.
His methods of protest were ineffective in communicating any sort of legible or longstanding dissent. Whatever point he tried to make is lost on me. What is clear is that he left behind a heap of rubble, dead bodies and hurt that lasts to this very day.
Apparently, McVeigh remained silent before his execution in 2001, but wrote a final statement that included the poem "Invictus," by William Ernest Henley.
This Elm Tree once stood in the parking lot outside of the Federal Building and, amazingly, survived the bomb blast and the building's destruction. It is now referred to as the Survivor's Tree. It's leaves shade visitors, mourners and observers at the site. I sat below its branches and thought about how beautifully simple the place had become in spite of all the pain and sorrow it had seen. It made me think about heaven meeting earth and our eventual surrender to God's judgement; a time when peace will elude us no more. I wonder what will remain standing after all the chaos we inflict on one another subsides. What will stand after we've built up and torn down all our monuments? Who, or what, will be our shade?
I suggest re-writing the last lines of "Invictus" to read, "Jesus is the master of my fate. Jesus is the captain of my soul."