VIGNETTE: BILLIE RODELY

unspeakable honor of that day

By Billie Rodely, 2003 Inductee

It wasn’t writer’s block or a simple loss for words. That day 25 years ago the only word I could conjure was “unspeakable.” a Reporter for radio is to paint word pictures for listeners, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to turn on the tape recorder and speak.

Countless articles and books have chronicled the atrocity of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. So many that, over the years, I just let others tell the story. I certainly was not a good or even adequate professional journalist that day.

The sights, smells, sounds, and palpable fear and angst in the air were too overwhelming for me to describe. I failed at first to do my job as I arrived at Fifth Street and Robinson Avenue before the area had been cordoned off and reporters and others were kept at Bay.

So, I saw body parts hanging from what we now know as “The Survivor Tree.” Literally, a ladies breast was still cupped in a lacy white brassiere hanging there.

Unspeakable.

Later, when moved north a block by police, a firefighter passed by me. He had a tow-headed baby cradled in his arms the right side of the child’s head was covered in blood.

Unspeakable.

It was days later that moment in time would become the iconic photograph a little Baylee Almon.

Eventually, the radio Reporter emerged to provide action reports in sanitized descriptions of the horrific scene that date. But, to this day, the images remain in my heart and in my head.

Unspeakable.