youíre in Oklahoma you feel as if youíre in the middle of America.
And for all intents and purposes, you literally are.
Most of the time, that is all the places like Oklahoma feel
to most of us; that place out there in the middle of nowhere.
Far away from everything that we think really matters.
April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City suddenly became all that mattered to all
of us. In a split second,
the middle of nowhere suddenly became the center of our universe when
terrorists parked a van filled with explosives outside the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building. 168
people, including 19 small children, were killed in the blast.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil.
after the tragedy, people recognized the need to preserve the memory
of the victims and the consequences of this horrible act. On the former site of the Federal Building now stands the
Oklahoma City National Memorial.
The memorial is
still under construction, and the dedication is planned for April 19th,
2000. The site will
include a symbolic outdoor memorial, a memorial center, an interactive
learning museum, and an institute for the prevention of terrorism.
planning for the memorial began a
construction fence was placed around the site.
Immediately, the fence became a memorial unto itself as
thousands of people visiting the site left memories and mementos
attached in tribute. Bracelets,
teddy bears, license plates, cards, photos, t-shirts and many other
personal items have been left clinging to the fence.
As I walk along the fence the human aspect of this tragedy
overwhelms me. So many
lives were changed forever by this event.
As Iíve traveled across the country on this journey, Iíve
been enlightened and educated. Iíve
laughed and Iíve learned. But
nothing has moved me like this place.
A picture of a small child, clipped to the simple galvanized
chain-link fence, brings me to tears.
heavy thoughts bearing down, I leave Oklahoma City, emotionally
drained. The wind picks
up and battles against my motorcycle.
The strong, constant current is difficult to ride through as I
continue north and cross the Kansas border.
I'll need to rush to get to Strong City before four o'clock,
about 100 miles in 70 minutes. Just
before Wichita I turn
northeast, calculating the miles per minute as the clock ticks by
and the wind pushes on. With
2 minutes to spare I roll into the parking lot at the Tallgrass
Prairie National Preserve. Another
stamp and another state are mine.
The park ranger, Ron Clark, is a Harley rider and we have a
nice chat about our rides.
dusk I'm in Lawrence, at the home of Matt Sacks. Matt was the very first intern at Classic Sports Network,
where I toiled away for 5 years before leaving for this trip. I'm proud to say I helped bring Matt to the company and
helped get him his first job out of college.
Being the enterprising young man that he is, Matt read about
our new cable television channel in a trade magazine back in the fall
of 1994. Figuring we
would need good, cheap help, he called about a summer internship.
We weren't even on the air yet!
After working during his Christmas break, I realized we had a
winner here, and when Matt returned in the summer he brought along his
longtime friend Scott Kono who also attended the University of Indiana.
Matt and Scott worked their butts off all summer, and I knew we
had hire to them as soon as they graduated.
Less than a year later they were on the staff.
It's people like Matt and Scott whose steadfast dedication and
hard work made Classic Sports such a success and a wonderful place to
After ESPN bought Classic Sports, Matt moved out to Lawrence to be closer to his girlfriend. He also got a great job as a television reporter and producer for Channel 6 News. The station is independently owned by the local cable operator, Sunshine. Matt shoots, writes, produces news stories and even appears in front of the camera sometimes. I'm glad and proud to see he is doing so well.
I asked the right guy the right question because Dick spent about 15
minutes listing his favorite eating establishments around the
country. The first
name he mentioned was Don's
Steak House in Lawrence, Kansas.
Lucky me! I insist
to Matt that we dine at Don's, and we're not disappointed.
The Bar-BQ ribs are the best I've ever tasted.
stuffing ourselves we take a moment to view some pictures of Dick that
adorn the wall of the restaurant's entrance hall.
There are so many pictures of Dick and related memorabilia that
the place could pass as a Dick Schaap Shrine.
It's almost spooky. Dick
was introduced to Donís Steak House, its owner Gary ďU.S.Ē
Bartz, and the spectacular ribs years ago in Los Angeles at one of
Dickís annual Super Bowl parties.
Gary flew out to the coast just to make sure the ribs, also
flown in from Lawrence, were going to be cooked correctly.
Dick has since become a regular in Lawrence.
And Gary and the ribs are a regular at Dickís Super Bowl
party as well.
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