OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In a matter of days, Oklahomans will be honoring the lives of 168 people who died 26 years ago in a domestic terrorist attack.
“I’m kind of speechless,” said visitor Andrea Burcham.
Not many words could describe what this experience is like for the visitors on the tour and the man giving it.
“I lost in an instant 116 co-workers and friends,” said survivor Richard Williams.
Williams was district manager for the general services administration, responsible for all federal buildings in the state, including the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
He had just finished up a meeting and doesn’t remember anything after 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995.
He’s had to learn his own story through research.
“I was buried underneath a rubble pile, dug out and carried out of the building by an Oklahoma City police officer by the name of Terry Yeakey,” said Williams.
On Friday, he shared his story with tourists at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
“It’s really more important for them to learn and understand, just like coming to this museum, and learning about the impact of violence and that people were killed, and people were injured,” said Williams.
“So much more personal on that account, knowing you know how much it meant to him,” said Desirae Carter.
Williams’ true focus was the 168 victims.
“They were friends. They were family. They were fellow softball players; they were people that we did things together with. We were like one big family in that building,” said Williams.
Even though this wasn’t his first tour to give, it can still make him emotional.
“I look outside, and I still see the building cause that’s something that was a part of my life for those 18 years. I look out there and it’s still there to me,” he said.
That emotion is portrayed in his storytelling.
“It was very moving to hear it from someone who experienced it firsthand,” said first time visitor, Anthony Courkamp.
Williams says it’s never been easy to think about his friends and even strangers who lost their lives that day.
However, thinking back to all the wonderful moments they cherished together is what pushes him forward.
“My gosh, look what we’ve accomplished, look what happened, look where we are today and look what generations are now going to need to learn about this story and the history of it,” said Williams.