Children's book explains historical significance of OKC bombing - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Children's book explains historical significance of OKC bombing to younger generation

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- Making sure children never forget the Oklahoma City bombing is the inspiration for a new book told from the perspective of the Survivor Tree at the National Memorial.

"We need to remember. These children need to know," the author, Gaye Sanders, said. “So I started thinking, I just kind of planted an idea in the back of my head that just kind of sat there for a while, and it just grew and grew. Suddenly, I just knew the book needed to be written, and I needed to do it."

It quickly dawned on her that the main character had been standing over her the whole time.

"And then one beautiful morning in April as the sun shone brilliantly in that beautiful open sky, I felt excitement knowing the children would soon be out to play around my trunk," Sanders read from her book. "I looked forward to sharing my shade with my friend while she ate her lunch.

"The ground beneath my roots shook. The building exploded. I heard screams. Smoke and flames filled the sky. The cars parked around me burned in my leaves, and my branches burned as well. Almost immediately the sirens sounded from every direction.

"People came running to help. Many searched through the massive mountains of rubble for those trapped inside. After many hours, they came out in the same coat of dust that now covered me. Debris from the building hung tangled from my branches. The weight pulled at my limbs and tore the leaves that were left."

Sanders got emotional reading her words about that dark April 19, 1995.

"And then it talks about them building the walls and the reflecting pool," she read with tears in her eyes. "And on the far side from where I stood, there were chairs -- 168 beautiful chairs. One is for the lady who no longer sits in my shade. Some were smaller than others. Those are for the children who no longer play around my trunk.

"It has been many years now, but every day people still come. They remember. I have seen our very worst moment. And I've seen the city come back from that to rise from the ashes. A city that says, 'We will never forget.' I've seen the worst and the best.

"Oh yes, I've seen the best. I've seen Oklahoma."

The book tells the history of the tree through ice storms, tornadoes and fires. Sanders says she will hopefully be finished with it by April of next year.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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