Oklahoma: Life in Tornado Alley

Tornado producing storms have ravaged parts of Oklahoma over the period of the past two days. The most likely worst one of the group was the tornado that hit the Moore area just south of Oklahoma City. Moore has been hit numerous times with large and violent tornadoes. The one today was no exception. At times nearly a mile wide, it ripped the earth as it tore through without prejudice. At least one elementary school was destroyed in it's wake. A school that was still in session. The young children had practiced their tornado drill many times, and knew just what to do. Luckily all the children were accounted for and walked out of the disaster alive. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the parents before they knew if their child was safe. Seeing the wreckage of the building on the news, I wouldn't have imagined anyone survived.

Unfortunately not all were as lucky. Lives have been lost. I'm sure there will be more to come. There are numerous injuries ranging from scratches and bruises, to serious head and abdominal trauma. Buildings and homes, people's lives, have been erased from the landscape. Try to imagine your home, with all your belongings, as it is at this very moment. Two to three minutes later it is nothing more than a pile of twisted and unrecognizable rubble and debris. Everything gone. From your sofa to your family photos. The clock hanging on your wall that belonged to your grandmother. Even your car that was once sitting in the driveway.

Destroyed.

If you're lucky you have enough time to seek shelter. There's no time to try and grab things of value. Even if you had the time, there's no place safe to secure your belongings. All you can do is hide and wait for it to pass. Once it's over you can pick up the pieces. That's what Oklahomans do. We pick up the pieces. We rebuild. Right now, even as I write this, there are people picking up the pieces. There are people digging through piles of debris and rubble looking for a loved one. Digging for the injured. Picking up the pieces that are left of their life. But this is what I know as an Oklahoman. They aren't doing it alone. Their relatives, neighbors, and even complete strangers are out there picking up the pieces. There are firemen, and police, and paramedics right along side gas station attendants, farmers, and trashmen picking up the pieces. Helping others find their loved ones. Helping others find sentimental objects and family photos. Helping others pick up the pieces. Someone is cooking food to take to someone who no longer has a home. Someone is making a place for someone to sleep that no longer has a bed. Someone is driving around looking for lost pets trying to find a home that no longer exists. Someone is part of a caravan on their way just so they can ask "what can we do?"

You see, that's the thing about Oklahomans. We face adversity together. WE pick up the pieces. WE rebuild. And with time, WE heal.

I appreciate the phone calls and messages from friends making sure myself and those I care about are safe and well. Fortunately so. But while my house is fine, my home is not. Please keep Oklahoma in your thoughts and prayers.

If you have the desire and the means to do so, please consider donating to the Red Cross or some other disaster relief organization.

* I'd like to add that I do realize the above mentioned school was not the only one hit in today's disaster. Out of respect for the families and the lives lost, I chose not to write about it. News reports and information is still forthcoming. Right now we just need to be there for those who have lost. Not gossip about their losses.

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