2016 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

On April 19, 1995, lives were drastically changed forever. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols carried out a horrific attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. I can remember watching the news coverage with my family. I was 6-years-old and living in my hometown of Apple Valley, CA. I was young and confused. Years passed and I never put a lot of thought into the incident again.

In 2009 my husband and I received news that we were getting stationed at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. Each year I watched the marathon from the comfort of our home. In 2015, we finally decided to participate. My husband completed the 5k and I ran the 1.2 mile Kids Marathon with our daughter who was 2-years-old at the time (She ran the entire 1.2 miles!). We had such a great experience in 2015, we decided we would continue to participate each year that we live in Oklahoma City. This year my husband completed the full marathon (26.2 miles) and my daughter and I once again completed the 1.2 mile Kids Marathon.

On Saturday (the day before race day), we visited the Memorial Museum for the first time. Anyone who participates in the marathon receives free tickets to visit the museum. We had been to the outdoor portion of the museum many times, but this was our first time inside. I wasn’t sure what to expect upon entering. The first portion of the museum was interesting, but nothing compared to the second portion of the museum. We entered a room where we listened to a hearing being conducted at the Oklahoma Water Resources building next door — during the hearing, you hear the bombing occur. It was horrific and heart wrenching. I cannot even begin to fathom what it was like to physically be in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

After the recording, we entered another portion of the museum where we were able to see personal belongings collected from those who lost their lives and from those who survived. I don’t believe there is a single word that can explain how terrible this act of terrorism was. Walking around the remainder of the museum was very difficult for me. I felt sick to my stomach.

If you ever come to Oklahoma City, I encourage you to stop and visit the museum. It’s fascinating, wonderful, and horrible all at the same time.

Moving to Oklahoma has taught me one thing: there ARE good people in this world. Being able to watch and experience how Oklahoman’s come together in times of trouble is an amazing thing. Watching everyone who participated in the marathon — whether it’s the Kids Marathon, 5k, relay, half, or full marathon — encourage one another and tell each other what a great job each other did is inspiring.

While I miss California, I am happy to call Oklahoma City my home.

My little love and I waiting to participate in the Kid’s Marathon.

Running in the Kid’s Marathon 🙂

Finished! Time to eat and wait for daddy!

And he made it! Those are tears of joy coming down Emma’s face 😛 She missed daddy while he was running.

I know this post isn’t typical of all of my other posts, but I thought it would be wonderful to share our experience with you. Next year, I’m running the half marathon! I can’t wait!

// Karissa <3

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  1. Love the article you wrote Karissa, you have a way with words that is a gift, i remember that day so well, i was getting ready and heard a big sound all the way here in MWC and had the tv on, within minutes it came over the air that something had happen downtown, my first instance was to check on my sister cause she lived close by and she was all shaking up from the impact of the sound but she was okay, but when we heard that the Murrah Building was hit and that there was a daycare i couldn’t imagine what those parents were going through..sadly we lost a good friend of ours that day..i’m so glad that you share your experiences and thoughts..

    1. Thank you, Mary! That truly means a lot to me. I know it’s been 21 years, but I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I can’t imagine what those parents went through either. It makes me sick thinking about it.