OKLAHOMA CITY — At the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum there is a gate that reads 9:01. The time represents an innocence.
“It was a day like any other day," says Donna Weaver.
Innocence that was lost April 19, 1995 — vanished at 9:02 a.m.
"In 1995 I was a baby lawyer at my very first job," says Melissa Mclawhorn Houston.
She was sitting at her desk that morning.
"When you’re that close, you don’t really hear a boom," she says. "First indication I had of what was going on was a rush of wind, an unbelievable rush of wind and my hair stood up."
She wasn't physically injured when the bomb went off in front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, but it left her in shock.
“I just had this incredible sense of evil, just something evil had happened," Houston says.
Donna’s life also changed forever that day. Her husband, Mike Weaver, was an attorney for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, working on the eighth floor.
"He told his sons — and me — told his sons every day, 'I love you,' " Donna says.
Mike was a dedicated father and coach.
"His little phrase as he dropped them off at school was, 'I love you and don’t you ever forget it,' " Donna says.
Mike Weaver was one of the 168 people killed.
“I could see that there was a giant chunk of the building missing," Donna says.
She only worked two blocks from the explosion.
"I had a voice in my head that said, 'be careful, be safe, you have to take care of my boys,' " she says.
2020 will mark 25 years since this domestic terror attack.
“Nobody would have thought terrorism back in 1995, that wasn’t anything anyone would have thought of," Houston says.
Those responsible were Americans fueled by a hate for the U.S. government.
“It’s important to continue to know what happened here. And how it was done. And that it was done by two guys, really," Donna says.
If you visit the memorial today, you'll find another gate that reads 9:03. A time that represents moving forward, into a different world, one born from a threat we still face today.
“What people I don’t think realize is how this event was such a fundamental shift for our country in the way 9/11 was a fundamental shift for our country and our world," Houston says.
“When you’re tested by hate and by violence, we won’t let that win," Houston says. "We are not going to let hate win."