Oklahoma City National Memorial

The Oklahoma City National Memorial in the United States is dedicated to the memory of all those who were affected by the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. This memorial is located in Oklahoma City, on the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It was destroyed by the 1995 bombing. The building was located at NW 5th Street, between N. Robinson Avenue & N. Harvey Avenue.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial Act (1997), signed by President Bill Clinton on October 9, 1997, authorized the national memorial. The same day, it was also administratively added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation manages the memorial, and National Park Service staff interpret it for visitors.

On April 19, 2000, the fifth anniversary of the bombing, the memorial was officially dedicated. On February 19, 2000, the museum was officially dedicated. This memorial outdoor is a tribute for the victims, survivors and rescuers who were affected by the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Visitors can take a walk through the solemn setting, which includes the reflecting pool and the field of empty chairs. You can visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum to learn more about the tragedy.

Memorial features

The Field of Empty Chairs (east Gate of Time) and the Reflecting Pool at Oklahoma City National Memorial. In the upper left corner is visible the Survivor Tree.

As seen from the base the reflecting pool, the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The Memorial’s emblem became the Survivor Tree after it was saved from the bombing.

The Memorial Fence and the east Gate of Time.

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial consists the following sections on 3.3 acres (13,000 m2) and is accessible both day and night.

The Gates of Time: Two monumental bronze gates mark the official entrances to the Outdoor Memorial. They frame the moment of the destruction at 9:02 PM. The eastern gate’s 9:01 marks the end of peace and the western gate’s 9:03 mark the beginning of recovery. The monument’s interior has both time stamps facing each other as well as the Reflecting Pool. [2][6]

This inscription is on the outside of every gate:

We are here to remember those who died, those who survived, and those who have been forever changed. Let all those who come here understand the effects of violence. This memorial may bring comfort, strength and peace to all who visit it.

Reflecting pool: The pool is formed by a thin layer of water flowing over polished black granite. It runs east-to-west down the middle of the Memorial (also known as the reflecting pool), which was once Fifth Street. Visitors can see their reflections in the pool, even though it is flowing. Visitors who see their reflections believe they are seeing “someone changed forever” by what they have seen here. 

Field of Empty Chairs: These 168 empty chairs, made from bronze, glass and stone, are a tribute to those who have died. Each chair has a name inscribed in the base. They are located on the spot where once stood the Murrah Building. To represent the nine floors of Murrah Building, the chairs are placed in nine rows. Each person’s chair is located on the row (or floor) where they worked or were located at the time the bomb went off. [7] The chairs can also be arranged according to the blast pattern. The most damaged section of the building has the most chairs. Five chairs are in the westernmost column. This represents five victims who were not in Murrah Building. They are two in the Water Resources Board Building, one in Athenian Building and one outside the building. One rescuer was also among them. The bombing killed 19 children, according to the smaller chairs. The bombing claimed the lives of three unborn children, who were also killed by their mothers. They are listed in their mothers’ chairs under their mothers names. 

Survivors’ Wall, the only original parts of the Murrah Building that remain are the east and north walls. These walls are known as the Survivors’ Wall. The Murrah Building’s granite panels have been used to create the wall. These panels are inscribed with the names and addresses of over 600 survivors, many of whom were hurt in the blast. 

Survivor Tree: A tree of American elms located on the north side Memorial. It was severely damaged by the bomb but survived. Each year, hundreds of seeds from the Survivor Tree can be planted and the resulting saplings are distributed on the anniversary of the bombing. There are thousands of Survivor Trees in the United States, both public and private.

The Memorial Fence: A 10-foot (3.0 m tall) chain link fence was built around the area now known as the Reflecting Pool or Field of Empty Chairs in order to protect it from any damage and prevent visitors from getting hurt. Over four years, the Fence was a popular place for visitors to leave stuffed animals, keychains, or other tributes. The Fence was moved from the east side to the Memorial along the 9:03 side, or the ‘healing side, during the construction of Outdoor Memorial. Rest of the Fence is stored. The Fence is still available for visitors to leave small items. These mementos will be periodically collected, catalogued and stored.

Rescuers’ Orchard – A grove Oklahoma redbuds, Oklahoma’s state tree, Chinese Pistache and Bosque Elm trees have been planted around the Survivor Tree. The trees are the rescuers who helped the survivors. Therefore, the rescuer’s tree is located around the survivor tree. Non-native species are rescuers from outside Oklahoma.

Children’s area: Over 5,000 tiles hand-painted from across the United States and Canada were created by children and shipped to Oklahoma City following the 1995 bombing. The Memorial’s Archives has most of them. A selection of tiles can be found on the wall in Children’s Area. Children can share their feelings and thoughts on chalkboards. The Children’s Area can be found on the west side, just north of the 9:03 Gate.

Journal Record Building: The Journal Record Building is located north of the memorial. It used to house The Journal Record’s offices. It is now home to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. This museum features many exhibits and artifacts about the Oklahoma City bombing. 

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Plaza is located just south of Field of Empty Chairs and above the underground parking garage. The original federal building’s plaza featured a garden, seating areas, and a playground for daycare centers. The Memorial is accessible by walking across the plaza. This is where the original flagpole was used to fly the American flag. 

Address: 620 North Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma