Inside an Oklahoma City Bombing Survivor’s Story

There are stories that in crazy moments time moves in slow motion. At 9:02 a.m., she felt hot wind hit her face. It was so fast it was like riding a motorcycle with hair being pulled back.

She remembered thinking it was a gas explosion from the gas problem from the week before. Then, she realized that things were hitting her and she needed to cover up. So, she tucked her head under her desk to protect herself. The air was so hot she felt like her clothes and scalp was melting. Then it was 9:03 a.m. and things went black.


It was a beautiful spring day on April 19, 1995, for Nancy Shaw. She went into the day feeling great, because it was her day to work on social security cases on her desk and catch up.


Her coworker needed help on a case, so she pulled a chair up next to Shaw. They were looking at the computer just like any other day. Then the indescribable boom from the bomb came from no where.


After 9:03 a.m., Shaw remembers her coworker asking if she was okay. The debris was neck high and they saw a small light that they made their way towards. They grabbed the coworkers that they saw on the way out the back.


“What was interesting is that people evacuated other buildings and were all lined up in the street just standing there looking like they were watching a movie,” said Shaw. “It was like they didn’t know what to do. They were frozen.”


Shaw eventually found her family hours later. Some spots on her head and chest were bleeding and her ears had constant ringing for a year after the bombing.


“Probably the worse thing after that was having to deal with the funerals. After the first couple, you just get numb. It’s kind of a way to protect yourself from having to deal with the loss,” said Shaw. She is doing better now even though the anniversaries and video footage are still hard to watch.


Mike Boettcher was an NBC reporter on the scene four hours after the bombing. Oklahoma City was a place he knew well from work for many years.


“By 1995, I’ve spent the last 15 years covering terrorism all around the world in different places. So, it was a shock to me to see it happen in my own home state,” said Boettcher.


The Oklahoma City bombing was one of the first terrorist attacks in the United States, and it will never be forgotten.

PHOTO: Nancy Shaw pointing to the building before April 19, 1995.

BY:Leah Whiticker