Thursday, April 19, 2012
We were halfway across the country from OKC, but only nine months removed. Only a couple months before I would first try email and AOL, so no tweeting, no texting—people there actually called me here to turn on the TV... just as Jeri Taylor braced Janet at Voyager to do, by having her come into her office to watch her "perk" TV... And all about an event that hit just two blocks from where she'd worked at a bank until we moved west... moved, because of Star Trek.
I'm talking about the "Oklahoma City federal building bombing" of 9:02 a.m., April 19, 1995.
I remember thinking, my throat choked up as I watched those first TV images of chaos: "OKC? Really? Who'd want to bomb a bunch of Okies? New York or L.A. or D.C., I can understand....but there?" Those thoughts, exploding amid TV images of bloody bodies, people running away in the streets, stressed first responders struggling to stay professional to their training ....
And then the surreallity, having watched LA anchors nationally on the slo-mo OJ car chase a year before, of seeing my old OKC news anchors carried live in LA.
And then, hearing how my mom's rural Guthrie neighbors were killed .. how my cousin might have been hit by falling stained glass had she been at work in her office as choir director at historic First United Methodist ... and on and on.
And I also recall thinking, " Well, this is sure gonna put a pale on '89er Day week from now on ... "
The Star Trek family was good to us, when the seeming inconceivability of it all was so shocking, and them knowing how freshly and barely removed, if at all, we were from our Okie roots. Little did we know just another 6 1/2 years would bring an event even more inconceivable, even more image-haunting, but by a factor of 100. But that day in 1995 was still a day to be distant and yet a very close witness. And to miss my days in the newsroom, already; it's good therapy.
Well, the rawness of the bombing back home has finally begun to recede, as it will be 20 years in just a few more. '89er Days in various communities who were founded in the original April 22 land Run of '89 do still thrive, as do others festivals in mid-April. Life moves on.
There's no real connection between the OKC bombing and Trekland. And yet, seemingly, in my own mind, there is—and always will be.