In previous posts about the federal building memorial in Oklahoma City, I talked about how it is lit at night and that I wanted to go back. This I have now managed to do. I showed up around sunset and walked around the whole memorial. I was traveling light so no tripod, only a GorillaPod. This worked fine for most things. I was interested to discover text on the end of the memorial which lit up at night. I had thought it was a blank wall previously.
The subtle lighting across the memorial was very nice. As the sky color faded, I got a bunch of shots, some with quite long exposures which helped to blur out the other visitors of which there were plenty. The gentleness of the scene was what I wanted to convey since it was even more apparent in the dark than during the day, even though it is a calm place then too. That the place feels so peaceful while remembering such a violent event is a tribute to those who created it and maintain it.
Work recently took me to Oklahoma City. I had been there on another work visit a few years ago and that time I visited the site of the federal building bombing. It was a moving place and this time I wanted to go back and take my camera with me. At the end of a day of meetings, I headed across.
The location is slightly odd in that it is in the heart of the city and has a steady stream of visitors but it doesn’t feel busy. I parked on the street across from the entrance and wandered around freely rarely crossing paths with others. There was even a school group there but they didn’t seem intrusive. The memorial has a few key elements.
The footprint of the building is now a grassed area. Surrounded on three side by walls, part of which are the only remaining sections of the original building, the grass is filled with chairs. These chairs are made from bronze and glass and each represents a victim of the bombing. They are laid out in rows based on the floor that the victim was on at the time of the attack. There were many children killed as there was a daycare facility in the building and the chairs for the children are smaller. This has a very poignant effect. The front of each chair has the details of each victim. Apparently, at night the chairs are illuminated from within and I may have to go back when I am next there to see this.
The street that used to run alongside the building and on which the bomb was placed has been closed. It has been leveled and a rectangular pond now is there. At each end are metal arches with two times on them. 9:01 represents the city before the bomb and 9:03 is the city after the bomb.
Across the water from the chairs are a couple of other features. One is a tree. Despite the damage inflicted on everything in the area, this tree survived and became a symbol of the city’s survival. Also, there is a building that previously held a newspaper but is now the museum associated with the memorial. It shows signs of damage sustained and there is graffiti from some of the original rescue workers.
Like so many well thought out memorials, this one is very simple yet very effective. More recent events have led many to forget just how terrible an event this was. It was an example of just how much someone could take their personal point of view to an extreme at the expense of so many innocent people. Quite relevant when hearing some of the things people say these days. If you look at the fence with keepsakes and photos attached to it, it becomes a lot more apparent just how personal an attack like this is to those involved and a reminder why there is no justification for anything like it.
The other day while I was sitting at my desk, I happened to look out of the window and across the river. (Under no circumstances should you conclude that I was spending a large amount of time staring out of the window. There is no evidence to support such allegations!)
As I looked across to Wacker Drive, I saw a FedEx delivery truck that looked very unusual. It had a very aerodynamic looking front end and didn’t look anything like their normal trucks. A while later, I googled FedEx and delivery trucks to see if anything came up and, sure enough, there w a feature on their website about a number of new trucks that they are running trials on, some of which are here in Chicago.
The trials are for new designs that are either light weight conventional designs or alternative propulsion designs. They are trying the different concepts out on different routes to see which ones are best suited to which routes rather than having a one size fits all approach. Apparently, we have some electric vehicles here in the city.
I didn’t think much more about it until a few days later when I was out in the Loop. As I came down a back street, a came across one of the new trucks. It certainly has a very modern look about it. The driver was not around so I had a bit of time to look around it. Apparently, there is not a door to the outside on the cab. It seems you have to go back through the truck. There were some quite jazzy looking electronic access controls so it has all the bells and whistles fitted.
It will be interesting to see how the trials go and whether these become a regular sight. Given how many miles FedEx puts in, they must have plenty of scope to save cash!