OKLAHOMA CITY -- After the ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing ended, families lingered among the 168 chairs on the ground that held lovingly fastened flowers and other mementos on their loved ones spots.
The passage of time is different for those who have this date etched in their minds.
“It’s very sad day. I remember just like yesterday,” said Samir Khalil.
Khalil lost his wife in the tragedy.
He would often visit her at the federal building where they would eat lunch together.
He was supposed to be there that fateful day.
“I just hear the bombing, shook the whole town. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the smoke,” said Khalil.
Two decades have not sufficiently dulled the gut wrenching pain for Helena Garrett either.
She was tasked with reading the names of the children who died in the bombing.
It took her several moments to collect herself before she could say the name of her 16 month old son that was taken from her, Tevin D’Aundrae Garrett.
“He was beautiful, bright, brown-eyed, joker smile baby boy,” said Garrett.
Garrett says she regards it a privilege to be able to read the names of the children and the ladies who worked there every day caring for those kids.
She took the time to share an embrace with Brandon Denny. Denny survived the tragedy that took Garrett’s son from her.
“I always love seeing the Dennys, Rebecca and her brother, Brandon and all of them and the other family members and other moms and dads,” said Garrett.
This 20th anniversary stands for so much for these families.
“Remembrance and survival and faith and love, you know, and determination to overcome such a tragedy,” said Garrett.
These families forever tied together by the horror that stole their loved ones and united in their determination to turn it into something beautiful.