April 19th, 1995
My Louisville-born husband wakes up from a dream he just can't seem to shake. He knows, of course, that I'm an Oklahoma City girl, though many years removed. It's April. It's a tornado, he thinks. Oklahoma City has been hit, he thinks. I'll turn on the TV, he thinks. That something is wrong, he knows.
It reverberates through the house. I am instantly awake and rushing to see why. The smoke, the chaos, the screams. People scooping up children, anyone and anything -- and running.... the running. Not even sure where to run. By 11 o'clock that night, I am back in Oklahoma City -- reporting to South Florida on something only a lunatic could conceive and a nation can't believe. A grade school buddy is somewhere in that rubble. There's a memorial chair at the site now with her name on it. I was struck by the damage. How could you not be? But also by the collective hurt of a city which couldn't understand. 'Why me?' Those faces; they stay with you.
Again on the TV. The smoke, the chaos, the screams and the running -- and on an even more catastrophic level. So many South Florida families with New York roots lost children who worked in those Twin Towers. Throughout the following days, I find myself at many homes in Broward County -- there to do interviews, so graciously agreed to by anxious parents hoping that by baring their pain and their souls, it would help find a missing son or daughter. I knock on the door -- TV crew in tow. When they open up, I would simply say, "I'm from Oklahoma City." 'Then you know,' they would say. And the hugs would come and the tears would flow. It helped them and, strangely enough, it helped me, too.
April 15, 2013
Oh no. Not again. I gaze at the TV. The smoke, the chaos, the screams and the running to get away. I wish I could hug you, Boston. I wish I could take away the hurt. But, please, don't tell yourself you have to be tough and strong just yet. Have a good cry and hold each other close -- let it all out. I'm from Oklahoma City. And I know. You didn't deserve this, Boston. Nobody ever does.