- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For the first time, a federal bankruptcy judge has discussed his unique spot in history — as a witness to the two most deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Judge Richard L. Bohanon was in his office, a block away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, when a truck bomb exploded on April 19, 1995, killing 168 persons. On September 11, 2001, he was in New York on a temporary assignment in an office near the World Trade Center towers.

“Somehow, I was spared — twice,” Judge Bohanon told the Oklahoman. “I was put in peril, but I was never harmed.”

Judge Bohanon, 71, said that even now, he struggles with his emotions when he considers the enormity of the two events.

“At first, it’s so incredible, both of these, that you just can’t get your arms around it,” he said. “Once I realized what had happened and how many people had been killed and harmed, that’s when the emotion of it came to me.”

When the truck bomb exploded outside the Murrah Building, Judge Bohanon was on the phone with a friend, congratulating him on a new job. After the initial shock of the blast, Judge Bohanon checked on people in his office, called his wife and evacuated the federal courthouse.

During the September 11 attacks, as he exited from a subway across the street from the Manhattan bankruptcy courthouse, Judge Bohanon said he saw people looking up and learned that planes had hit the towers. He called his wife. Later, he and a friend thought they felt something “like a slight earthquake,” which Judge Bohanon thinks was the collapse of the first tower.

“I just kind of thought, ‘My God, here we are again.’”

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