Hello from The Heartland!
Autumn has been filled with incredible connections with my wonderful friends and family. I loved my time in California, but the US journey isn't complete without visiting Middle America - or "The Heartland" as it's also known.
The first stop is Oklahoma City, where a mini-family reunion took place! It was so fun to explore this city with people so close to my heart. The loving energy and dynamic of family was good for the spirit and soul.
Then it was on to Des Moines, Iowa, where I spent about 10 days just playing and working downtown. I had no expectations, but I was hoping for some down-to-earth niceness here.
Both cities were really impressive, and I'm glad I got to trek through The Heartland!
Oklahoma City, OK
On April 19, 1995 at 9:02am, our lives were changed forever with the Oklahoma City bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This tragic event deeply impacted us due to the number of deaths, and particularly the number of children in the day care center that died. There were 168 deaths and 800 injured. The magnitude of the blast also damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius.
A task force began the heavy emotional task of building a memorial - The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum.
The Memorial Museum is in a building that withstood the bombing. The Museum uses video and artifacts to tell the story and is really well done. It’s a pretty emotional and somber experience.
You experience the entire devastation and sadness of that day - from the hours before the bombing - to the time when the perpetrator was sentenced to death.
The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial
This is a place of quiet reflection. It honors those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever on that day. It encompasses the now-sacred soil where the Murrah Building once stood, as well as the surrounding area devastated by the attack.
Each chair in the Field of Empty Chairs represents and memorializes a person killed in the bombing.
Des Moines, IA
To continue my trek up through Middle America, I spent a week in Des Moines, Iowa - the capital of Iowa.
The Des Moines River runs through town, and Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge stands in glory across the river! It links the east and west sides of Des Moines. There are two separate paths across the bridge - one for bicycles, and the other for walkers or joggers.
The Historic East Village is a vibrant and diverse part of Des Moines, with interesting shops and restaurants - and located near the Capitol Building. It is one of the original commerce areas, and includes the Capitol and other historic places. I loved the character, charm, and culture of this part of town!
While I was in California, I had this idea to start a podcast. It certainly wouldn't be to compete with big podcasters out there. But for those that want to follow my journey, it may be interesting, informative, or entertaining.
I have some fun ideas, and I'm pretty excited about it, so stay tuned!
If I started a podcast, would you listen?
Now it's time to wind down the year and just settle into family life. I'm so fortunate to have a wonderful family filled with holiday traditions that I can be a part of.
Of course, I'm thinking about next year and starting to plan out 2023. But one thing I've learned over the last three years is that things can change - and likely will. Who knows. But at this point, 2023 will include Athens, Greece, more North England and the UK, and then up to the Scandinavian countries and probably Sweden.
Until then, it's just family, kids, food, and Christmas!
I really appreciate those who have been reading my travel blogs. Thanks for following along!
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