I had gotten to work at Walmart around 6 that morning. I was supposed to unload a truck full of spring flowers, arrange them in a new display in the parking lot, and then create the signage that was going to attract a lot of attention. Most of the pallets had come off the truck, and around 8:55am, I was requested to assist one of my employees (I was a garden center assistant manager) load a truck full of peat moss. One of the assistant store managers came running out, and said "They just bombed the fedral building in OKC" I dont really remember what happened shortly there after, just that most of the store gathered around radios, tvs, anything we could to get information.
A coworker looked at me and said "we need to get up there" He was prior service, and I had been out for a little while, and started driving. We had gloves, a couple of shovels, and a big lunch ladies at the cafe had made for us. We arrived on the outskirts of town, and a highway patrol officer stopped us, asking what we wanted. we explained that we were prior service and felt compelled to come help. He waved us through, saying they could use all they could get.
the scene was frightening to say the least. By the time we had arrived, most of the victims that were ambulitory were already gone, there was a redcross wagon a block back, and officers everywhere. They asked if we had hardhats, and we realized we really had not thought it through very well. Someone from a construction company gave us each a bright blue hard hat, and told us to see what we could do. I was armed with a pickax, and walking in front of a large Catapiller front end loader, picking at rubble, making sure it was only rubble.
I did not see any bodies, or parts of. I did not see much except for paper flying around, lots of rock, and occassional blood splatter. My buddy was on a crew that actually found a child, and shortly after, he worked along side me, not talking for about 8 hours. We ate sandwiches, drank stale coffee, and said little. What could we say?
I dont know if I made a difference that day. I am not sure if a difference could have been made. Death was in the air, the gloom of the situation was glinting like broken glass on everyone's faces.
I do know that I retired my walmart garden center shirt when I returned. I had managed to rip it up somehow, and it was stained with dirt, blood, and something I never figured out. I think it was fear.