When I first agreed to go on the trip to Oklahoma City I must admit I was rather taken off-guard. It was a last minute opportunity that came up and I had a very short time to either accept or refuse, literally only an hour. I was apprehensive all the way up to our first encounter; it was with Mike Boettcher, ex-NBC and CNN correspondent.

                To hear about his war stories and learn about his past experiences were shocking, least of all because he has such an unassuming character about him. For being one of the top foreign correspondents alive today, having survived all manner of dangerous assignments he has none of the bravado you would expect. When he began regaling us with his exploits you could tell that none was needed, the truth was far more fantastic and needed no embellishment.

                As we were in a conference room at the Oklahoma City memorial it only made sense for him to begin with his close ties to that fateful day. It “happened in my hometown” he said, “I thought we were immune.” While he was not living in Oklahoma at the time his news bureau flew him out minutes after the bomb had detonated. “The smell of death…in my hometown stuck with me forever.”

                Mike was also one of the few reporters who had the opportunity to interview Timothy McVeigh after his capture. It was a preliminary interview to see who would get the final sow that would air on television. It was not too long into the interview that Mike was able to see the hatred and anger in McVeigh’s eyes, after which Mike reasoned that there is no way McVeigh’s lawyers would ever allow him t be put on camera. Once he realized this, Mike used the rest of the interview to grill the man who brought destruction and chaos to his hometown. What he left with was an unsettled feeling that his “gut tells me other people were involved.”

                The rest of the conversation revolved around the realm of international terrorism. The stories he related are enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most jaded of listeners. Unfortunately, I was asked to keep silent on these stories. Fortunately, the reason why is because Mike is in the process of writing a book to recount some of his endeavors.

                Needless to say, within the first hour of the Oklahoma City trip I was immediately glad that I came. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always be grateful to ASU and Dr. Bill Silcock for allowing me to enjoy.  On a trip to a state I never thought I’d go to, I came back with stories that I never thought I’d hear. You cannot ask for a better education than that.