Skip to main content

A flashback to Oklahoma City bombing

By Marcy Heinz, CNN
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Fri April 19, 2013
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
updated 11:30 PM EST, Sun December 28, 2014
Les Abend: Before we reach a conclusion on the outcome of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, it's important to understand that the details are far too limited to draw a parallel to Flight 370
updated 8:27 PM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
updated 11:17 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
updated 10:05 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
updated 8:03 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
updated 6:27 PM EST, Sat December 27, 2014
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT