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Lyons: Smiling since Rudolph's arrest

Lyons:
Lyons: "The only reason I don't have what I did is because someone disagreed with what I believed in."

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SPECIAL REPORTS

(CNN) -- Emily Lyons, a nurse injured in the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, that federal authorities have linked to Eric Robert Rudolph, spoke Monday to CNN anchor Bill Hemmer along with her husband, Jeffrey, about Rudolph's arrest and her recuperation.

HEMMER: Nice to see you. I want to roll a piece of videotape here from 1998 in which I thought you showed a lot of courage. About five weeks after the bombing, this is you being wheeled in to meet members of the media. You're looking at that today and you're thinking what, Emily?

EMILY LYONS: I was looking pretty rough back then. You know, I look back now and I can't believe I did it. I mean it was so out of character for me.

HEMMER: How so?

EMILY LYONS: I had been a very quiet person, I didn't like to speak to crowds or groups or anything. So being up in front of, I think, maybe 50 cameras that day didn't bother me.

HEMMER: Could you see anything that day?

EMILY LYONS: No, nothing. I could see light, but I couldn't see anything else.

HEMMER: Did that give you perhaps more courage?

EMILY LYONS: It probably did. You know, not knowing how many people were out there helped.

HEMMER: When did you get the call this weekend?

EMILY LYONS: A few minutes before 7 Saturday morning one of our friends called and said there was something on TV that ... we might want to watch about Eric. And so my husband said, 'Well, what do you think on Saturday morning would be worth watching on TV at this time of the morning?' And it was Rudolph.

HEMMER: You're speaking now with a smile. Tell me about that.

EMILY LYONS: This smile hasn't left my face since Saturday morning. We're glad that part's over. You know, we've waited five years for this day and if he is the one that is guilty of this, we want the legal system to provide appropriate punishment for him.

HEMMER: Is it true that every day you've looked in the mirror since that day and thought about the alleged bomber?

EMILY LYONS: Well, yes, because every day he's with me. My face is damaged and when I see it, I know who did it to me. The rest of my body, I look at it and it's not the body I used to have and the only reason I don't have what I did is because someone disagreed with what I believed in.

HEMMER: This clinic that performs abortions, had there ever been any threats against this particular place in Birmingham?

EMILY LYONS: We had had a couple of fake bomb packages in the mail, but nothing particularly before that time. After that time, they did receive several phone calls and some anthrax letters.

HEMMER: Your husband, Jeffrey, is here with us. Eighteen operations for Emily?

JEFFREY LYONS: Yes.

HEMMER: Was there a point that it got the lowest?

JEFFREY LYONS: Most people crash after about six months. That [is], it takes about six months for you to really have time to soak in what's happening, because the rehabilitation is to intensive.

And after about six months, she pretty well hit a low. But she did amazingly well. All of the people who worked with her always talked about how willing she was to jump into whatever was next. Of course, she went through most of this completely blind and still had a very determined spirit all the way through.

HEMMER: Yes. Have you ever met a gentleman by the name of Robert Sanderson?

EMILY LYONS: Yes, he was the police officer providing security that day.

HEMMER: What do you remember about him?

EMILY LYONS: A very gentle, quiet man. A police officer that knew what his duties were at the clinic, and that was to protect us and to keep down any conflicts between patients, significant others and the protesters.

HEMMER: Have you ever met this eyewitness that apparently gave the single ...

EMILY LYONS: No.

HEMMER: Never?

EMILY LYONS: Never.

HEMMER: Apparently an eyewitness saw a truck drive away from the scene when everybody else was going toward it ...

EMILY LYONS: Right.

HEMMER: ... with North Carolina tags. It was later traced to Eric Robert Rudolph.

EMILY LYONS: Right.

HEMMER: Never met the person?

EMILY LYONS: Never met him.

HEMMER: Man or woman?

EMILY LYONS: Don't know who he is.

HEMMER: Would you testify at trial if it goes that far?

EMILY LYONS: I would love to go. I don't know if I would have anything to testify about.

HEMMER: Why not?

EMILY LYONS: I don't remember anything. So I, you know, I just have a damaged body from what this person did to me.


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