By Chris Bunton
My wife and I went to Nashville, Tennessee recently for a Valentines Day trip. We stayed at Union Station which is about 4 blocks down Broadway from Music Row.
We spent Friday afternoon at the Frist Art Museum, checking out a traveling Picasso exhibit. Then we rested in our hotel for a bit, before venturing out to find a place to eat.
We headed toward the river walking the four or so blocks along Broadway to Music Row. It was dark, and as we approached Music Row, the lights got brighter, while the music and the people poured in and out of the bars, and honky tonks, that line both sides of the street.
We got to the river front, where we could see the stadium where the Tennessee Titans played, and the bridge crossing the Cumberland River was lit up, reflecting on the water.
We turned, and decided to walk back up the other side of Broadway street, toward our hotel.
The first road we came to just past the Hard Rock Cafe, was road blocked. The entire road was dark, and seemed out of place, and silent.
Something was odd about it in relation to the life that was going on right beside it. That was when I realized that this was where the Bombing had occurred on December 25th, about a month and a half earlier.
We turned and walked down the barricaded road a ways to check it out, but decided to turn back to the lights of Music Row, and go find something to eat.
We walked back up Music Row and finally ate at a place called The Palm, which was excellent. Then, we went back to the hotel.
The next morning, we went for a walk to find a local place for breakfast. But, apparently everyone was still in bed from the night before.
Anyway, we reached the blocked off road, and went to explore it. The further we got down the road, the more unreal it became.
The windows were boarded up in every building at least a block or so away from the epicenter of the blast.
I was surprised by how close this was to what would be considered the heart of the town. It is just a block or so, from Music Row, and the River. When we see it online it does not give a feeling for where it actually occurred.
The block where the bombing happened is full of businesses, bars, boutiques, and apartments. All of which seem to be closed now.
It’s just a normal brick building lined street. But, the area had a feeling of some kind of dead zone as we continued walking toward the blast site. It’s odd, because I have visited many such places, where an event or tragedy has occurred, and you can feel something.
At a certain point we ran into a barricade, that stopped even foot traffic. A few people stood around taking pictures, of what looked like a pile of rubble down the street. It appeared as though a building had collapsed on one side of the street with a large black gaping hole in a brick wall on the other side.
A man nearby asked “I’m not a touristy type of person but why is everyone taking pictures?”
A woman answered him, “This is where the bombing happened.” She said.
“I didn’t know it was here.” He relied.
And this was my general feeling. I didn’t know how close it was to everything that makes Nashville who she is.
The feeling there from the people was very somber and respectful of the area. People were quiet and reverent of the space, where the crime happened.
It’s amazing how events and people can turn an ordinary piece of land into a sacred place, in an instant. Whether it’s a dark tragedy or a victory, we can feel that something happened there. We can sense that there is something present, and it is more than what we see.
I think it’s a spiritual thing beyond our conscious reality. Like a footprint of some giant entity that marks it’s passing and we remember it, even if it’s only in our inner being.
But, it’s real. It’s as real as the sunshine in glory, or the cold embrace of the unknown and deep darkness of mystery.
No one really knows why these things happen. What leads people to do the things we do?