ICT interview with Walt Lamar on 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

Indian Country Today interviews Walt Lamar, a retired FBI agent who received the FBI Shield of Bravery for his efforts during the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995:
What do you remember about that day?
I walked through the area where the triage was dealing with the children who died in the day care center, but my mind couldn’t deal with that. There were things I had to do, so you do them. There was a picture on the cover of Time magazine and there was a dead body there, and I was standing right there. I saw the body but it didn’t register in my mind, and in some ways it takes the mind's ability to protect us.

You know, it was something I participated in, it was part of my job. It’s like I took that experience and wrapped it up and put it in a box, just like those notes. I don’t take that experience out of the box very often, and when I participated in the museum's oral history project I got pretty emotional, and it was because I looked at those notes. Looking at all of the experiences of that day, it almost overwhelms me, and that’s why you put those things away, and you leave them put away.

Have you had any problems with PTSD?
After the Oklahoma bombing, I didn’t go to the peer support, but after the shooting (later in 1995) they wanted me to go. They said it was just for the people who had been there, we were all gonna talk. I said okay, I can do that, and it was one of the most interesting experiences I ever had.

At the end of the day, I worked pretty much for 18 years kicking down doors, arresting people, and probably what was the worst thing, I had to go to an autopsy of a little baby.

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Kicking Down Doors: Retired FBI Agent Walter Lamar Remembers (Indian Country Today 3/4)

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