Symbolism

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a place of quiet reflection. Designed by Butzer Design Partnership, this Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Murrah Building once stood, as well as the surrounding area devastated during the attack.

The design was selected in an international competition including 624 entries submitted from every state and 23 countries. The winning design, created by the Butzer Design Partnership, was chosen by a committee comprised of family members, survivors, rescuers, civic leaders and design professionals. The following map shows the layout of the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial. Please note that North is to the right side of the map.

Outdoor Symbolic Memorial Video Podcast
Outdoor Symbolic Memorial Map PDF (558kb)

Gates of Time

These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.

Reflecting Pool

The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.

Field of Empty Chairs

The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.

Survivor Wall

On the east end of the Memorial stand the only remaining walls from the Murrah Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the terrorist attack, many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby.

The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.

Rescuers' Orchard

Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.

Children's Area

In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children's Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings -- an important component of the healing process.

The Fence

The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.

 



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