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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

It's Thursday and I'm sitting here racking my brain for some poetic and thoughtful phrasing on gratitude. This is how it is for most Thankful Friday posts. I get to the end of the week and I can't think of anything more than the possibility of taking a nap sometime over the weekend or going to bed at 8:30 PM on a Friday night. I also can't help thinking about all of the things that I need to accomplish before Sunday afternoon and how that's going to interfere with nap times. Ridiculous problems. Of course, there's always found gratitude and by the time Friday morning rolls around, I have most of my entry written. 

Today I am distracted by images my friends have posted of the Murrah Federal Building. Twenty three years ago, I was sitting on a couch in the lobby of my college dorm along with half of the other girls. We were all glued to the TV as we watched the news reporting on the bombing of the federal building. My roommate spent hours on the phone trying to get through to her dad. He was supposed to be at the federal building that day for a meeting or something, but he'd either been late or it got canceled. The how and why didn't matter as much as just knowing that he was safe. I remember how we all looked shell shocked and how the air crackled with uncertainty and confusion. Bombing? Oklahoma? Terrorists? What? This was an event that any person ever raised in the state of Oklahoma could never have fathomed as possible. Our disasters are nature born. We lose houses to tornadoes. Power goes out because of ice storms. Acres and acres are scorched from wild fires. We do not lose people and buildings to moving trucks filled with explosives. Yet, there we were, watching the whole horrific event unfold, watching as rescuers pulled people from the rubble. By the time it was all said and done, six hundred and eighty people would be injured and one hundred and sixty eight people dead. Nineteen of the dead, were children. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States until the attacks of 9/11. 

I know that this doesn't seem or feel like a topic for thankfulness and gratitude, but it is one of the reasons why I will always be an Oklahoman. No matter how many times I am frustrated and embarrassed by the politics of that state or have to roll my eyes at some of the ignorance that rolls out people's mouths, I will always be an Oklahoma girl. The red dirt of that land is caked into my skin. It was part of the clay that molded my first thirty five years of life. Even though, I claim a new state for a home, my first home and loyalty is with Oklahoma. I can't help it really. Thirty five years allows you to collect more than things and I have a collection of framily and family that keep me tied to the place, but I was also a witness to what happened in the days following that horrific bombing. I watched as Oklahomans came together, took care of each other and comforted each other with a resilience and determination not normally witnessed. We take care of each other even if we don't agree with each other. The Murrah bombing linked us all together in a way I fail to have words to explain.

So, today, I am thankful for life I had in Oklahoma. I am thankful for the family I have in Oklahoma. I am thankful for the framily I have in Oklahoma. I am thankful for you.