I Still Haven’t Forgotten 25 Years Later

Today I was supposed to be in Oklahoma City. I planned on it. The flight was arranged, the accommodations had been made, and unless a global pandemic change the entire landscape, I was set to go…

You see, 25 years ago today, another event changed the way we see the world. It was on this anniversary that two Americans decided that it would be a good idea to drive rental trucks filled with explosive fertilizer and blow up the Alfred P Murrah Federal building in downtown OKC .

I was a morning radio host along with my partner Bob Campbell on KJ-103. It was a Top 40 music program with all the zaniness that one would expect from a radio show in the mid 90s.

But April 19th, 1995 was going to be different.

It started out the same, walking in to 50 Penn Place taking the elevator to the studio and not thinking anything but getting to the coffee machine. Songs were played, jokes were made, and traffic and weather always seemed to come together.

We made it through the show and at 9am, we started the last hour. It was 2 minutes later that there was a sound that didn’t emanate from our speakers.

The Murrah building was about five miles from our studios, but the explosion sounded like a jet was making a fly-by past our building. It shook the windows and rattled the walls.

From the 10th floor we could see huge billows of black smoke rising from downtown, but we had no idea what the reason was for it.

A co-worker happened to be downtown near the explosion and was able to call us for a live report. He told us and our listeners that the explosion had obliterated about half of the building. At the time he could only speculate that it was a gas line explosion. No one could even imagine at the time anything more complex or devious.

About twenty minutes later, we were shocked to see that there were FBI agents coming into the studio with full flak gear. They instructed us to evacuate the building.

We didn’t know this at the time, but the bomber intended the blast to be retribution for the FBI’s attack on Waco and Ruby Ridge. What the terrorist did not realize was that the FBI was not in the Federal building in downtown but was located only one floor above our radio studio.

After the building was safely evacuated, my co-workers and I met up at a local Denny’s to make sure everyone was okay and to go over the events of the morning.

When the authorities gave the all clear to reenter the building, it was our morning show that was the first to enter at 6am the following morning. The nervousness was palpable. Every time we saw a white box truck pass by 10 floors below, we wondered if they had an ulterior motive.

As we got back on the air, going back to our wacky, zany morning show was not an option. We didn’t play music and we wouldn’t for a very long time. We took calls from our listeners to hear what they were going through, what they experienced. People finding out what they could do to help. Figuring out what the first responders needed. We had local authorities on the air to give assurances that everything was being done and what was happening on a city, state and national level.

The calls that touched me the most, were the people calling in to tell us about people that they were trying to find or knew that they had already lost. From the people just going to work like any other day to the children in the day care, it was such a senseless act of violence.

The people of Oklahoma City and the the entire state were my true beacon of hope. From the first responders to the everyday people just wanting to help in any way they could.

I have wanted to go back and visit the memorial so many time over the past 25 years, unfortunately life pulls you in a thousand different directions. I often think about my time in that wonderful city and I know that I will get back there soon. I want to be able to remember the people that we lost on that tragic day, but also to honor the wonderful people that carried on their legacy.

I will never forget.

From oak tree looking southwest

Sheltering in Place … Bringing out the creativity

Nothing like a pandemic and being stuck in your house to come up with different ways to fight off boredom. I broke out the bread machine when there wasn’t any bread at my local Publix.

My wife started using a sewing machine that I bought for her over 5 Christmases ago…

… and I now have more Playlists on Spotify than I know what to do with.

I have Zoomed, Facebook Lived, and texted til my fingers are numb.

I am amazed at all the people running, walking and biking in my neighborhood these days… It seems like we should be given a Shelter In Place warning every January so that folks would be able to follow through on their New Year Resolutions!

There have been so many creative people during this crisis that I am in awe and applaud everything that they do.

From the people making masks for their community.

Why you should make your own face mask during coronavirus—and how ...

To people cooking meals for themselves and folks that can’t get out and go shopping.

Coronavirus: How quarantine cooking became our anxiety outlet ...

I guess it all comes down to doing what you are good at and doing what you enjoy.

If you haven’t found that inspires your creativity yet, here is a list from our friends to the north at Victoria News.

Stay in, stay safe and get creative!

in·flu·ence

/ˈinflo͝oəns/

noun

  1. 1.
    the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
    the influence of positivity
    synonyms: effect, impact;

 

Had a great moment this week at work when I came in a collegue stops me in the galley and tells me that I am influencing her. Now, a lot of people will them me know that they are amazed by my weight loss or that they are inspired to lose weight themselves, but nobody has ever said that I have influenced them. Read More

Okay, So I’m Starting Again…

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As anyone that wants to lose weight can tell you… There are a lot of ups and downs. Many obstacles to avoid and hills of motivation to gain.

I say this as I turn 50 and I have that ever present, “It’s now or never!” voice in my head. I know that it is not going to be easy, as it is never easy the older you get, but the motivation is there. Read More