OKC Murrah Building Bombing Survivor Reflects Back 15 Years

Thursday, March 25th 2010, 2:52 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Murrah bombing survivor shared her story 15 years after the bomb took the lives of 18 of her friends.

"It's hard to wrap my mind over why I'm still here and why they're not," said Murrah bombing survivor Amy Petty.

Petty spoke to a group at the Edmond Women's Networking Breakfast about living with a purpose. Petty was on the third floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 when the bomb went off.

"I heard this incredible roaring and people screaming and this lady screaming Jesus help me. Then I realized that was me, and I felt this powerful rushing sensation like I was falling to the ground, and I was actually falling three floors with the building," Petty said.

She was buried under 10 feet of rubble for more than six hours and never thought she would live through the tragedy.

"I didn't know if I was dead or alive actually, and I just laid there until I heard men looking for the daycare babies. And that's when I was able to scream and have them come and find me," Petty said.

The bombing took the lives of 168 people, 18 of them were her friends. For years Petty said she bounced between despair and survivor guilt while she struggled to heal physically and emotionally.

"I had a lot of difficulty with my best friend. She had a 2 and 3-year-old baby girl, and at that time I didn't have any children. And it was hard for me to know that I made it and I lived when she had two babies at home and she was killed," Petty said.

Fast forward to today, Petty is 180 pounds smaller and she's sharing her story.

"I felt I got a second chance at life. I really felt like my life was over and it wasn't," Petty said.

Petty said she was determined to make her second chance at life a healthier one. After weight loss surgery, she started running, biking and most importantly enjoying her family and her son Austin.

"I have lost 180 pounds and I run and I bike," Petty said. "Who knew? I exercise every morning and have never been the type to exercise so this is new for me but I'm enjoying it. I'm loving it, a whole other lifestyle I never knew existed."

Petty said she is trying to live every day with purpose.

"I didn't want to have regrets again like I did when I thought I was going to die," Petty said.

Fifteen years ago, Petty was in a hospital bed at Presbyterian hospital unsure of her future. One month from now, she said she'll run past the hospital in the Memorial Marathon to honor those she lost and to celebrate her second chance at life.

In addition to Petty's weight loss, she also graduated with honors and earned a master's degree. And Petty said she's not stopping there. She's slated to run a sprint marathon this summer.