I was in college. I had the best college job ever, I was a school bus driver. It fit perfectly into my schedule. Drive my route in the morning, go to class, drive my route in the afternoon and done for the day. My college roommate drove a bus, my boyfriend drove a bus, most of the drivers were my college classmates. It was extra special when you put a “trip” in your box where your bus keys were housed. A trip meant extra money and a good opportunity to skip class. Both appealing to a college student.
It was April 19th and I had a trip downtown to take kids to hear the OKC Philharmonic play. I was waiting in front of Central Elementary school along with 5 other fellow bus drivers. We were all sitting on one bus, each of us sprawled in our own seat, discussing the trip and where we would have lunch once we got downtown and dropped off our passengers. We heard a loud boom, like thunder. As we all looked at the sky, it was clear and blue. We sat puzzled – “What was that???”, we all questioned. 5 to 10 minutes passed and another driver shushed us. We stopped to listen to the radio we used to communicate with other buses and the bus barn. A driver who was already downtown with their kids alerted everyone that something major had happened. We listened firsthand as we heard emergency vehicles in the background as the driver was relaying information and waiting for further instruction. All drivers were instructed to return to the schools, if they were already in route, or stay put if we weren’t. We just sat, silent, confused, and waiting. You can probably deduce that trip to the Philharmonic didn’t take place that day.
The pictures on the TV screens that day awoke this college girl to the harsh reality that my little world in Bethany, Oklahoma wasn’t immune to evil. The stories that unfolded of the lives lost were a constant source of tears. The stories of the heroes reminded me in tragedy the human spirit is strong.
I love our city, how we have memorialized the lives lost in the beauty of the bombing site, and choose to remember every year with the Memorial Marathon. The human spirit proved greater that day, in the face of evil. We will never forget.