OKC Bombing: We Once Were Blind

As we remember the tragedy of the OKC Bombing, we remember the 168 people who lost their lives and their families. Even though this event happened 20 years ago, the scars left from terrorism are still evident. This tragic event should serve as a reminder that personal choices have a profound impact on ourselves and the lives of others. I was only 4 years old when the bombing took place, but I’ll never forget when the breaking news came on to our TV set announcing what had happened in OKC.

One account from someone who witnessed the aftermath of the bombing had said on the radio that on that day of the tragedy, people from all over the state came immediately out to help, donate blood, provide blankets, and help in anyway possible. She went on to say that later after everyone had been taken out of the debris, a group of people took a step back from the incident and gathered around one another, hand in hand, and began to sing the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”. People began to join arms and sing this hymn together as if it was a battle cry in a war zone. Those who were in the midst of the pain and sorrow, suddenly unified themselves. If you were to take an aerial picture of that scene that day, you have seen devastation, but I also Think you have would seen sure resiliency shown that day, as it has been shown so many times over and over in Oklahoma. Truly a great moment.
As I write this post, I am reminded of the last line of the 1st verse of that song Amazing Grace, it says, “…I Once Was Lost, but Now I’m Found, Was Blind, but Now I See.” In this horrible aftermath, the future of Oklahoma was blurred, the vision had been dimmed, and we could not look past what had happened. For a short time, our state had gone temporarily blind. We could not see nor grasp the madness behind the motives, we could not see where we were going, as if time stood still, and the only thing we could see was the darkness of destruction. But in the moments of help, hope, and hymn, the sight of unity was stronger than ever and amidst the disaster, our sight was beginning to be restored, because thousands of people responded to meet the needs of those were hurt and inspired hope. Too often times we only see the heartache of a tragedy, that we become blinded to the Hope of Togetherness. As I hear people who tell their story of this incident, there are many emotions of sadness, confusion, and sorrow, but one constant theme I hear is the hope and strength that they describe as they mention the people who got behind them to help and said, “Together, We Are Here For You.” Over the years, we have learned how to Rise, we have learned how to Thrive. There is a bright hope for all of us, because even though we all know where we have been, we can be encouraged to know where we are going. This is something many people overlook and my only hope is that we all get to the point in our lives when we Oklahomans, can at last say that last part of Amazing Grace is now finally true, “We Once Were Blind, but Now We See!” #WeWillNeverForget #OKCmemorial

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Brandon Baumgarten

Brandon Baumgarten grew up in the small town of Oilton, Oklahoma and was elected to serve the Oklahoma FFA Association as State Secretary, State President, and as a National Officer Candidate representing nearly 25,000 students on the local, state, and national levels from 2011-2013. Afterwards, Brandon launched his speaking career and authored the highly sought after leadership book, Caught Up & Called Out, hoping to help others see the impact they can make on this world. He is a professional speaker, speaking at over 100 different events each year, and a graduate from Oklahoma State University in Agricultural Leadership, and was even named a top 10 student. He is a Zig Ziglar Legacy & Youth Certified Presenter and his message is always to engage, encourage, and empower you to do something big in your life! No matter if you are a student, teacher, parent, or business executive, Brandon's presentations are certain to make you laugh, think, and realize your impact is about to begin!

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