War on Terror

If anyone thinks the War on Terror is a futile act, they will leave here thinking differently. This is a must experience for every American.

...Our deeply rooted faith sustains us. Notice how the trees obscure the sign that tells us what denomination this church is? Notice how the Survivor Tree frames the word faith from above and the shade of the tree frames from below?

I really don't know what was printed before our deeply rooted faith because I was so struck by how perfectly the glory was given to God. This was firmly planted on Federal soil.

Now compare the voice of man crying for justice and the shadow of man's works over the cry. Yet, God's creation grows underneath it and beside it. There was a sign over one of the churches at that time. Our God reigns and we remain.

After you help pay for the maintenance of the memorial, you go to the third floor. It is a short ride to horror and hope. We see lots of life-sized pictures of a normal day with normal day sounds. The time is 6:00 AM. As we walk around the room, we see the time progress from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM until we get to a corner of the room. 9:00AM.

The first thing that pierced me was a picture taken a few days before the blast. It was of the kids at day care having a blast with their day care workers. Normal. We wait a few nose-pinching minutes so I can block the tears, then the door to the Hearing Room opens. We all crowd into the room. It has a glass wall on one side with a table and a few chairs. Benches are on the other side and several Senior citizens seat themeselves. We hear a water rights hearing and it reminds me of the Tensas Parish Police Jury meetings. Yawn. Then a boom that seems to rock the room, the lights flash on and off and the glass wall lights up. There are the faces of 168 victims of Homeland Terrorism. We are told we must leave the room and to hurry, but not to panic. "Walk this way."

A huge TV screen is informing us as we leave what just happened. The Federal Building just exploded and that was right across the street! Piles of rubble are dotted with baby shoes, eyeglasses, coffee cups, date books, shoes, wallets... It is so shocking, we can't take it all in. All the while, TV reporters are giving us a minute by minute report on the happenings. A filing cabinet, twisted open and files covered in dust, warped pages of a phone book, normal day things and necessities in a surreal environment.

We walk on. Survivors tell us what they were thinking and feeling as they were pulled from the rubble. Rescuers tell us what they were rejoicing over and despairing of as they worked. A scalple, a pocketknife and an 1/8 inch cord hang beside a picture of a woman with her leg pinned under a concrete piling. The leg had to come off, but she survived. We walk on.

It starts to rain that day and people drive by to give raincoats and rain gear to the workers, never expecting to get it back. Grief and hope flood my soul. Grief over what man had done to the innocent and hope because of the goodness mankind displayed that day. Grief over the loss of life and hope over lives that had been strengthened. Grief over the Victims' Room.

This room has pictures of each victim with a tiny shelf for a memento or two. There were several that had Bibles and Bible verses and/or angels. These were filled with hope. There were others that had golf clubs or Micky Mouse and one with an ID card and a credit card as a tribute. How sad. Others had empty shelves. How deeply and incredibly sad that is.

I pray that I live my life and order my priorities so that there is no doubt about what is important to me. I pray nothing superficial is left on my shelf. I pray that I do not leave an empty shelf as tribute.

I thank God for the rescue workers, the firemen, the policemen, doctors, nurses and every single soldier who is risking his life and limb to protect me and to protect my right to voice my feelings, opinions and beliefs. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! I thank God for our War against Terrorism. I thank God for Gary Siedle who helped bring about a change in federal law so that people like McVey and Nichols suffer the consequences of their despicable acts instead of costing us millions in court costs for execution stays and appeals. No more waiting 17 years before execution. That, my friends, is how to change the face of America. Not with bombs and fists, but working within the system. This was pointed out at the end of the tour and I wholeheartedly agree.

I urge you to go. I urge you to take your children. I advise you to take plenty of Kleenex. You will not leave there the same person who takes the elevator up to the third floor.

[edited to correct the quote]

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