Skip to main content

A flashback to Oklahoma City bombing

By Marcy Heinz, CNN
April 19, 2013 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
People pause at the memorial site in Copley Square on April 30 in Boston. The city continues to return to normalcy with Boylston Street fully reopened and businesses back up and running after two weeks of closures. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/boston-bombings-galleries/index.html'>See all photography related to the Boston bombings.</a> People pause at the memorial site in Copley Square on April 30 in Boston. The city continues to return to normalcy with Boylston Street fully reopened and businesses back up and running after two weeks of closures. See all photography related to the Boston bombings.
HIDE CAPTION
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victimss
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Photos: Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Nation mourns Boston Marathon tragedy
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marcy Heinz: Boston Marathon bombing brought back memories of an April day in 1995
  • Heinz: The Oklahoma City bombing left many residents in shock and grief
  • She says Oklahomans feel sympathy for Bostonians and for those who were killed
  • Heinz: Despite the bombings, we are not victims; we are survivors, and we have thrived

Editor's note: Marcy Heinz is a media producer for CNN.

(CNN) -- When the two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, I was reminded right away of another April day torn apart by violence.

April 19, 1995, began as a calm, clear day in my hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I was a young college student at the time, aspiring to be a journalist.

I was driving to work when I heard the news. Just then six Oklahoma State Toopers cars screamed past me, racing towards downtown. I went numb. This was my home. Things like this didn't happen here.

Marcy Heinz
Marcy Heinz

In the days after the bombing, I contacted my family and friends to make sure they were safe. I also sought out survivors like Jennifer Robinson, who was living in the Regency Tower, which was a few short blocks away from the target of the bombing, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. She was just getting up for the day when the blast rocked the entire area, shattering windows and spreading debris.

"It scared me to death. I have no idea if everyone got out of my apartment building," she told me. The blast left her homeless and without a car. I spoke with Robinson again a day after the attack in Boston, and she said the marathon bombing brought back memories of the Oklahoma bombing. Other fellow Oklahomans that I knew felt the same way, including journalist Clytie Bunyan, who was in the post office across the street from the Murrah building when the bomb detonated.

"It's safe to say that [the] explosions in Boston don't sit well with people here," Bunyan said. "People here have moved on with their lives, but naturally we remember our pain when things like this happen. And April is still a difficult month for some."

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



We felt a deep sense of loss and grief and came together in solidarity and support. People stepped forward and offered to help.

Like Maj. Chris Fields of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, who had been on the scene for just 20 minutes when police officer John Avery found 1-year-old Baylee Almon in the rubble and handed her to Fields.

Almon was one of the 19 children who were lost that day and the images of her little body carefully cradled in Fields' arms became an enduring symbol for many. Eighteen years later, Fields watched some of the coverage from Boston at his fire station in Oklahoma City and says the images struck a familiar cord.

"9/11 was a different scale, but this being right in a downtown area and you know, this hit a lot closer to home than 9/11 did," Fields said. When he saw interviews with the first responders in Boston, he noticed that they answered questions the way he did that day.

Suspect's friend: 'Doesn't make sense'
Witness: We heard explosions, gunshots

"The images they saw were what I saw," he said.

Oklahomans have never been the kind to dwell on the past, but we won't forget the 168 people who died in the blast on April 19 and those who bravely survived. That day does not define us, even if it has become a part of our story. Through the years, we have moved on. We are not victims. We are survivors, and we have thrived.

Fields reflects that healing in the wake of a terror attack like Oklahoma City or Boston takes a lot of time.

"It took a while," he said. "I've done some counseling. It will never be just another day, but now I don't dread it like I used to. It's not something you forget, and it's going to be with them for a long time. If you think you might need help, talk to somebody about that. That was something I did wrong. My heart goes out to them."

He adds that the definition of "normal" changed for Oklahomans after the attack. Maybe Bostonians would feel the same way.

But despite what we've gone through, we are resilient, strong, and we won't let the actions of the perpetrators get to us.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Marcy Heinz.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
If Obama thinks pushing out Hagel will be seen as the housecleaning many have eyed for his national security process, he'll be disappointed, says David Rothkopf.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
The decision by the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney to announce the Ferguson grand jury decision at night was dangerous, says Jeff Toobin.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0857 GMT (1657 HKT)
China's influence in Latin America is nothing new. Beijing has a voracious appetite for natural resources and deep pockets, says Frida Ghitis.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 2151 GMT (0551 HKT)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in the capital Tehran on June 14, 2014.
The decision to extend the deadline for talks over Iran's nuclear program doesn't change Tehran's dubious history on the issue, writes Michael Rubin.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1925 GMT (0325 HKT)
Maria Cardona says Republicans should appreciate President Obama's executive action on immigration.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Van Jones says the Hunger Games is a more sweeping critique of wealth inequality than Elizabeth Warren's speech.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2329 GMT (0729 HKT)
obama immigration
David Gergen: It's deeply troubling to grant legal safe haven to unauthorized immigrants by executive order.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0134 GMT (0934 HKT)
Charles Kaiser recalls a four-hour lunch that offered insight into the famed director's genius.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2011 GMT (0411 HKT)
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2141 GMT (0541 HKT)
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
ADVERTISEMENT