Oklahoma City Bombing
Remembered Through
The Eyes Of A Survivor
Calvin Moser was working on the 8th floor and several feet away from dying that morning back in 1995. Admitting the full truth has not been told about what really happened, he says the emotional scars may never heal.
By Greg Szymanski
The Oklahoma City bombing seems like light years away, especially after 9/11 has cast its ugly shadow over the American landscape.
But for survivor, Calvin Moser, it seems like only yesterday.
A long time HUD employee working on the 8th
floor of the federal building, he was one of the lucky ones who walked away from the 1995 bombing, killing 168.
He somehow miraculously walked away, walking away bruised and battered after being precisely in the right place at the right time when the bombs exploded all around his office at 9:02am.
It was an explosion heard around the world, but Moser knows that all too well. He knows that first hand because when the bombs went off, it seemed like the walls of hell were caving in, feeling as if he was smack dab in the middle of the "end of the world."
Why some people live and some die in tragedies like 9/11 and Oklahoma City is a question for a higher power. But in Moser's case, like a short movie clip playing over and over in his head, he knows exactly why he is here today to tell his story.
"It was a matter of seconds, a matter of literally feet and I wouldn't be here talking today," said Moser in an extended telephone conversation this week from his five acre home on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. "I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden, without thinking, I slid my chair across the room to get to the computer right by the window. I was only about eight inches from the when it happened.
"All of a sudden I felt a tremendous explosion all around me, ringing from below and up above. The windows blew in and threw me across the room, but since I was so close to them, they didn't hit me with any kind of deadly force, which I believe they would have if I was still sitting at my desk. That one quick move over to the windows probably saved my life and, like a movie, every time I think about it, I can see myself sliding across the room on my chair."
Although 10 years have gone by since that awful morning, it is evident in Moser's voice he still recalls the life changing event like it was yesterday since once someone comes so close to death, life is never the same after.
"I remember looking over the ledge at the devastation. The windows were blown out, nothing was there and I remember people screaming," recalls the 36 year veteran at HUD, adding his first thought after the explosion wasn't of himself but for many of his co-workers and friends who weren't so lucky.
"After something like this happens, for the first couple of hours you are running on pure adrenalin and emotions are very high. I knew some of the people that I had just talked to at my coffee break moments before the bombing didn't make it because everything in the middle of the office was gutted out. I was on the north side of the building and there was no way to even go in the other parts of my office as it was completely devastated. After the explosion, I was basically looking out over a ledge wondering how I survived.
"My first real thoughts were of my best friend, Dave Walker. We were friends from college and worked together. In fact, we had just had coffee together that morning in the office before the explosion. I looked over in his direction and I knew there was trouble as the whole building had dropped, making it impossible to even go over and try to help him.
"I later found out he didn't make it like some of the others I just said hello to on the way back to my desk. The pain of losing Dave and the others is something that never went away and probably never will. I experienced some pretty close calls in Korea when I was in the military, but nothing like what happened on that bright and sunny morning in Oklahoma City.
And after a tragedy of this magnitude, it's easy to forget about people like Moser, easy to forget about the human side of the story.
All too often as the years pass, recollections of tragedies like OC and 9/11 become devoid of human emotion, the events becoming like a video on a Hollywood movie screen.
But stories like Moser's bring us all back to reality, bringing us back to the painful reality that the importance of finding the truth about what really happened on 9/11 and at OC should be done purely for the honor and memory of those who paid the ultimate price, nothing else.
But, in reality, what happens is just the opposite. What happens is egos take over, special interests take charge and the truth becomes hidden from the victim's families, slapping them in the face with lies after they already have been knocked to the canvass with tragedy.
"I was really not happy with the government trial and I don't think the full truth is known about really happened at Oklahoma City," said Moser, adding his involvement with a nationwide victim's outreach group, including 9/11 survivors and family members, has given him a unique prospective into how people react to tragedies of the magnitude of 9/11 and OC.
"One thing, as a group, we do not accept easy explanations and are very aware who may or may not be telling truth. I think when the bombing first occurred, I was naïve, thinking the government would conduct a fair and honest investigation, but over the years I've learned this was not the case.
"This year when I traveled to New York to be with the 9/11 families on the fourth anniversary of that tragic event, I found many survivors and family members felt like they were not getting the truth or a proper investigation by the government into why and how their loved one's were killed.
"Besides the emotional scars that will never heal, we as a group are less tolerant of being lied to and even what are considered little white lies are very upsetting. If you lost your loved one or in my case my best friend and many colleagues, it is important to expect the truth and nothing but the truth.
"There are always going to be questions about what took place at 9/11 and in Oklahoma City, but I know in our case, I don't have all the facts that lead to a conspiracy, but I do know there were at least six or seven people involved, people the government investigation is covering up for some reason. Where that will lead, who knows? But after thinking about it, I really don't think our judicial system looks at getting at the truth and I don't think someone can fully understand that until you go through something like I did."
Asked about how the bombing changed his life, Moser added:
"I guess the biggest change is that I no longer have a fear of dying. If I died this minute, I wouldn't be afraid.
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