Excerpts from: Back and Ahead - A Look Back And Ahead At Oklahoma City Site
By Sam Howe
The New York Times April 20, 1997, Sunday, Late Edition - Final
The grass-covered spot where the Murrah Federal Building once stood was empty today at 9:02 A.M. It remained so as Oklahoma City paused to observe 168 seconds of silence, one for each person killed in the bombing here on this date and at this time two years ago, and for a few moments more as the pealing of church bells broke the quiet.
But over the next half-hour, as the name of each victim was read aloud at 10-second intervals, and family members and other loved ones walked onto the site on this warm Oklahoma morning, the field was slowly covered up by people and the flowers they placed on the ground.
. . . having concluded the "Remembrance" portion of today's official ceremony, the several hundred people who showed up turned to the second part of the observance: "The Future of the Site," as it was described in the program.
From a field of 624 entrants from around the world, five finalists were announced for the competition to design a permanent memorial at the spot. . .
The memorial is intended to do a number of things all at once -- pay respect to the dead, honor the survivors and the rescuers, conjure up the impact of violence in all its forms, and provide a place for children that offers them "assurance that the world holds far more good than bad," according to the mission statement . . .
The designers and architects chosen today are from around the world -- from Berlin to Brooklyn to Broken Arrow, Okla. . . .
Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma urged visitors to leave any item they wished at the fence surrounding the building site. "That fence has become our shrine," he said, "and it is fitting that on this second anniversary we adorn it with tributes and memories."
Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company