OKC bombing widow offered solace to victim's families in wake of 9/11 attack
OKLAHOMA CITY —
With tears in her eyes, Janet Ehrlich remembers what she calls the most horrible day of her life.
"I was sitting in my office and I heard the explosion and my window shook, “Ehrlich recalled.
At that moment, Ehrlich had no idea a bomb had just rocked the Alfred P Murrah Building. Soon, though, she would.
"I asked someone, 'Do you think this is Downtown?' And they said, 'Yes,'” said Ehrlich. “I picked up the phone and called my mom and said, 'What building is it?' And she said, 'Don't worry honey, it's the federal building.' And I said, 'That is the building that David works in.'”
Minutes turned into hours and hours into days before Ehrlich would learn David, her husband, had lost his life. Still carrying around the pain of her loss six years later, Ehrlich was in her office and about to leave when she learned of the World Trade Center attacks.
"I could feel their pain. I could just, I could feel it. It hurt. It hurt,” she said.
That’s why there was no hesitation, when days later Erhlich was asked to accompany a group to New York to help escort grieving family members to and from Ground Zero.
"I introduced myself and said, 'I'm Janet. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know your pain,'” recalled Ehrlich.
But at first, they didn't believe her.
"That didn't go over too well because they didn't figure anybody knew their pain,” Ehrlich said. “And then I told them I was from Oklahoma City and they just started hugging and loving me."
This initial bond would grow into a lifetime of friendships.
"The connection was just unbelievable,” said Ehrlich.
And together, they learned to embrace their new reality.
"This life won't be the same,” Ehrlich said. “It just never will be the same. There's not a way it can be."