Reflecting pools. Empty chairs. A peaceful meadow.
Those were among the images of timeless remembrance submitted in the design competition for a memorial to the Oklahoma City bombing victims and survivors.
The memorial moved a step closer to reality Saturday with the unveiling of the finalists in the competition.
Relatives of the victims and others said they were pleased with the finalists.
"I think we need someplace to go to remember all the victims _ not an eerie place," said Helena Garrett, whose son, 16-month-old Tevin, was killed in the federal building's day care center.
The finalists, selected from 624 entries, are Hans-Ekkehard Butzer, Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg of Locus Bold Design in Berlin; J. Kyle Casper and Brian Branstetter of Dallas; Susan Herrington and Mark Stankard of Ames, Iowa; Richard Scherr and James Rossant of New York; and Hanno Weber and Kathleen Hess of Hanno Weber & Associates in Chicago.
The Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation's mission is to "remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever."
The foundation wants visitors to the memorial to know the impact of violence and to find comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.
The entries were judged by a nine-member team that included three representatives of the victims' families.
The finalists will refine their conceptual designs. The winner will be named July 3.