08/18/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
THE VOICE OF AMERICA DELIVERED the horrifying news from half a world away: The day before, on April 19, 1995, a terrorist bomb had destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. Listening in her Berlin apartment, Oklahoma-born architect Torrey Butzer, now 30—who had moved to Germany in 1992 wit couple—who met at the University of Texas—moved to Berlin, a mecca for architects because of the building boom after German reunification. "I didn't know a word of German, but that's one way to learn fast," says Torrey, who grew up mostly in Wichita, Kans. (Hans's parents were born in Germany, and he is bilingual.) But with construction of the memorial set for 1998, the Butzers have returned to the U.S. Says Hans: "Being in Germany helped us to realize how much we appreciate our own country—the openness of society, the high ideals."