Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oklahoma City, OK & Bentonville, AR - Day 2!

June 20, 2015 ~ Time to get up and get our day started! We checked out of the hotel and loaded up directions to find some breakfast! (When we go on vacation we try really hard not to eat chain food places and try some of the "mom and pop" places when we can) On the way we spotted a Buffalo Nickle... Well duh! I had to snap a picture of it for you!

I found a place called "The Hungry Frog Diner"... 
I mean if it's from 1976 it's gotta be good right? 
(That's the year Brandon and I were born) 

Holy moly that's a big ball! Guess these folks in Oklahoma City do it different then we do in Missouri! I can say I haven't seen a ball like this before!

The food was actually good! The homemade cinnamon rolls were huge! 
After breakfast it was time to head to the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial. I got to see this place shortly after it opened when my best friend, Misty and I came down here. I knew I wanted Brandon to see it some day. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the bombing. This place is heart wrenching yet beautiful. 

The sign in front of wall read: A rescue worker originally painted the message on this wall during search and recovery efforts in April 1995. The building on which it is painted was a functioning office building when the bomb exploded across the street. Ceilings collapsed, walls fell in and glass shards flew throughout the building. Hundreds of people were injured, many critically. Fortunately, no one was killed inside this building. 

The sign in front of this wall of hands read: Children were a significant part of the worldwide response in April 1995, responding with words of encouragement and messages of hope - for Rescue Workers specifically - and Oklahomans in general. Thousands of ceramic tiles were sent to Oklahoma in 1995. A sampling of those tiles is now a permanent part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

It's always bittersweet visiting memorials like these because something so horrible happened to our people by someone who felt the need to harm innocent people. The really sad part of this memorial is that the persons involved in this bombing was one of our own and served in our military. They have done a great job memorializing the lives that were lost and although it had been nearly 13 years since I had been there I was glad that Brandon, mom and dad had the chance to see it. 
So hard to walk into a museum knowing it's telling a story about a tragic day that we will never forget. Being able to somewhat understand exactly what happened and see what was done since that day is history taught in a way I can understand.

As you walk into this room it was about a day that began just like most days. 
What caught my eye on the  April 19, 1995 The Daily Oklahoman newspaper was the Korean War Memorial statues that were ready to be placed at the memorial in Washington, D.C. 

A security camera captures some important details....
You then walk into a room with a hearing table as a water hearing is going on. During this recorded session you hear the bomb go off. 
You now enter a series of rooms that give a timeline from when the bomb went off and a series of events that happened next.
A metal door from the Journal Record Building

Bronze seal from the North entrance of the Murrah Building. Weighing 300 pounds and splintered with shrapnel and warped from the bombing.

Rear axle housing found by a car near the Regency Tower Apartment Complex.
Front tire rim from Ryder truck is blown with so much force that it hits the Southeast corner of the Journal Record Building breaking away a chunk of limestone. 

Some of the ribbons and an American Flag used during this time. 

A sign near the memorial area read: You are entering the area where the Alfred P. Murrah Building once stood. The granite used on this pathway was salvaged from the Murrah Building. The Field of Empty Chairs is a tribute to the 168 Americans who were killed April 19, 1995. The nine rows represent the nine floors of the former Murrah Building. Each person's chair is positioned in the row that corresponds to the floor on which they worked or were visiting. The five westernmost Empty Chairs honor those who were killed outside the Murrah Building. 

The Survivor Tree
A plaque inside the museum read: It stands at the highest point on the landscape of the Oklahoma City National Memorial - An American Elm - our Survivor Tree. Foresters agree it was likely planted sometime around 1920. Photos show the tree in a family backyard in 1947. That home gives way to commercial development. Somehow, that American Elm is selected as the only tree to remain when a parking lot is paved around it. Through the years it withstands spring storms, sweltering summers and winter ice. It receives little care, except from Mother Nature. 

On April 19, 1995 - less than 150 feet from Ground Zero - the American Elm withstands the full force of a 4,000 pound explosion and firestorm of debris. Many of its leaves and branches are blown off, its charred remains imbedded with pieces of metal, glass and plastic. Still it survives.

It becomes a symbol of resilience, and it's protection is mandated as part of the Memorial Mission Statement. Arborists from teh Oklahoma Department of Argicutlture, Food and Forestry help care for the tree now. Each year, seeds are harvested. When ready, those seedlings are given to family members, survivors, rescuers and visitors to the Memorial. 

The Oklahoma City National Memorial Survivor Tree seedlings grow today in yards and playgrounds across the state and around the country. Even the White House lawn enjoys shade from a tree that began as a seedling from the American Elm, our Survivor Tree. 

I am so glad that we got a chance to visit this memorial. It's beautiful, sad, heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. I would highly recommend stopping by and spending a few hours here if you are ever in town. 

After visiting Oklahoma City including the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial it was time to head to Arkansas! You know me... time for a quick picture in front of the "Welcome to Arkansas" sign
One of the places we stopped at was Chaffee Barbershop Museum in Fort Smith, AR.
Ladies, this is where Elvis Presley got his GI haircut! 
 Handsome young man he was!

Time for a little lunch! 
(Neat little restaurant with a 50's or 60's theme)

We made it to Bentonville, AR! 
Excited to check out The Walmart Museum!

 Growing up I remember going to Walmart and seeing the cars and trucks outside that kids could put a quarter in and ride. Just don't see as many as we did back in the day. 

 Inside the General Store!

On March 17, 1992 Sam Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The first Walmart Grand Opening....

 It was neat seeing some of the things I haven't seen in years (or possibly ever). I remember going to my grandma and grandpas house and remember seeing some of the old labels on household items. Crazy how they have changed in the past 30-40 years.

Sam Walton's Office
Sam's office was in the Walmart Home Office until April 1992. They carefully photographed and detailed every piece before disassembling it and rebuilding it in the museum. This gave people who came to the museum a sense of who sat behind this desk. 

His office was not normally occupied as he rather be visiting associates in the store. 
(I wish I had met Mr. Walton.... I have a feeling I would have really liked him!)

 Pretty cool to see his old pick up! 

Sam's old name tags and business cards. 

We got to our hotel and got checked in! 
(Again, dad was in shock at this place... he told mom it was really fancy)

Upon check in they gave us all fresh hot cookies! So we are rolling down the marble floor hallway and dad drops part of his cookie... as he leans over to pick it up he now drops another piece and somehow smears chocolate on the floor. I am laughing and dad is laughing (while mom and Brandon make their way towards the elevator clearly away from us) and he is trying to wipe up the chocolate using his finger but smears it even worse. We have tears in our eyes and get in the elevator where mom is shaking her head.... two words.... hot mess! 

Brandon and I run non-stop when we are vacationing and this evening wouldn't be any different. We searched "ghost tours" in and around Bentonville, AR. It pulled up 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs, AR. It was about an hour away from us and they had tickets for tonight's tour. We asked mom and dad if they wanted to go but they were tired and just wanted to relax so Brandon and I jumped in the car and headed to this hotel! 

This was our tour guide, Ms. Peaches and she was awesome! 
The first story was about a young girl that fell over the stair railing and fell to her death. She said many guests have said they have someone tug at their shorts/skirt and when they turn around no one is there. 

She said the hotel once was a hospital claiming they could cure cancer. Patients would get an injection into their cancer up to 7 times a day with no pain medicine. Those patients that became to loud were put in a closed off area so they didn't disrupt the other patients. Ghosts have been seen of a nurse pushing a medical cart with a body covered in a sheet down the hallway. The sounds are as if they are on wood floors but the wood floors have been covered by carpet.  
As we began to talk about what else was seen/heard she pulls this picture out to show us a ghost that was captured from someone visiting the hotel... This is a friend of ours, Danny Fann from when they stayed at the hotel! Crazy! 
This was in front of "Michael's Room". He was in his 20's when he fell off the scaffolding and died. She said that he loved playing pranks on people and some of the stories have been when a woman is taking a shower the shower curtain just comes open. She screams and that's what Michael likes to hear! (Danny said he and his wife stayed in this room and it is very haunted)

After our tour Brandon and I walked throughout the hotel again to see if we could find anything. We didn't capture any ghosts or hear anything crazy so at 11:15 PM we made our hour drive back to our hotel. (This was a really neat old place and is noted for America's Most Haunted Hotel so if you are into ghost stuff then book in advance and stay in one of the highly haunted rooms!) 

For information on ghost tours and all things ghost related click on the link below




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