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Woman whose leg was amputated in bombing rubble visits Memorial for the first time

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It's hard to believe this weekend will mark the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. It was a day our state was forever changed.

The survivors each have a story to tell. For Daina Bradley, it’s a story she has shied away from telling for the last 20 years.

Bradley is a survivor. She was trapped by debris after the explosion. Her only chance to escape was for doctors on the scene to amputate her leg right there in the rubble.

Thursday she went to the memorial grounds for the first time. It’s a place she wasn't sure she would ever return to see.

“I remember everything. I constantly remember everything. I have nightmares all the time,” says Bradley.

After the bomb went off on April 19, 1995, Bradley found herself trapped.

“They told me, ‘Ms. Bradley, the only way we can get you out is to either to cut your leg or we have to put you to sleep to take you out of your misery.’”

Bradley said, “I told them do what you have to do, I can always get another leg.”

So, a doctor tied her leg off with nylon cord. Using a scalpel and eventually a pocket knife that doctor worked to remove her leg.

It's a story chronicled at the National Memorial Museum. That pocket knife still on display.

Daina is in town for the anniversary ceremony, but stopped in to visit one of the doctors who helped in the months following the explosion.

Scott Sabolich, with Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research, was in his residency in 1995.

Sabolich said, “I got to build her first leg. I mean, I was a kid, she was a kid. Gosh, I can't believe it's been 20 years.”

Bradley said, “Scott's a great doctor, he's dedicated in what he's doing.”

Daina says it was Scott and those he worked with who helped her through what she considers a very dark time in her life.

While her current prosthetic was not built by Sabolich, Scott did take time to help the leg she has fit more comfortably.

Daina also went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial for the first time Thursday.

Bradley said, “Frankly, I didn't want to go downtown for a very long time.”

You see, she lost more than her leg that day. Her mom, Cheryl Bradley Hammons, her three month old, Gabreon Bruce, and her three year old, Peachlyn Bradley, all died.

She stopped by the chairs of those she loves Thursday, remembering not only that day, but the lives that she'll never forget.

Bradley said, “I miss them. I miss them all the time but I don't think they want me to live my life being sad all the time.”

A couple of years after the bombing Daina moved away. She currently lives in Indiana.

She tells us she's impressed with the memorial, and hopes to return again soon.

This weekend, thousands will come together along with Daina at the Oklahoma City National Memorial to honor the survivors and the 168 people who lost their lives.

We plan to cover the ceremony live on News Channel Four. Our coverage begins at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

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