(NBC News) Thousands will gather in Oklahoma City this weekend to remember one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history, the bombing of the Murrah Federal Court Building.
Sunday marks 20 years since the deadly blast.
There is a reverent silence at the memorial to honor and remember the 168 lost the almost 700 injured in the bombing.
If they close their eyes, the sounds and images from that day come rushing back for those who were there.
“I remember everything. I constantly remember everything,” says bombing survivor Sheila Schick. “You could hear everything falling, the debris. Then the lights came back on, which weren’t really lights. It was the sun shining in from where the building was gone.”
Gone too, was the innocence of this community and nation, forced to deal with the reality that it was a home-grown terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the attack.
He was put to death in 2001. An accomplice, Terry Nichols, is in a federal prison for the rest of his life.
Those who survived, meanwhile, are living theirs.
“I define myself as a mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt. That’s who I am. Not that this isn’t a part of me, and always will be,” Schick says. “So I live my life as fullest and happiest as I can and I go on.”