I've never been in a tornado. One time, as a kid, we were on a family vacation in the ol' station wagon and witnessed several tornadoes dropping down, then disappearing back into the clouds as we drove down the highway. Another time, as a 20-something, on the way home from St. Cloud, my friend and I witnessed a tornado as it hit the town of Monticello one summer evening. There have been storms when the sky turned green and ominous, the sirens screamed, so we dashed with the kids to the basement, cursing our decision to use Dish Network, since the signal is always lost in storms. In the summer of '96, I awoke for what seemed to be no reason, looked out the window and watched the US flag outside the local school stand stiff in the wind. I woke up my husband, jumped out of bed and grabbed my little toddler girl. We ran to the basement as our house was pelted with rain and debris caught up in the high mph straight-line winds. We looked for any information on the TV, but once the storm crossed the St. Croix river, the Twin Cities' news stations stopped covering the storm. The next day, the damage was terrible - whole roofs had been torn off houses and a grocery store, garage doors destroyed, windows broken, litter everywhere. A line of cars traveled down our streets with gawking "disaster tourists" staring out the windows. But, our house remained standing, and the three of us were safe and sound.
Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee
The devastation caused by the huge tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is a reminder of how quickly our lives can change. It reminds us how precious and fragile life is - how unpredictable a "normal" day can be. My heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones, especially those mamas and daddies who kissed their little ones goodbye that day without a thought that those little people may not be returning home that night. The survivor stories are ones of courage, bravery, and selflessness. How those parents whose children made it through the storm must be thankful for their families being spared the heartache of others', while also wondering why they were spared and others were not - how does one get over that "survivor guilt"? How does one comfort those parents who's children are still missing - praying for them to be found alive?
It is times like this when Americans show their toughness and generosity - in the coming days, more stories of bravery and heroism will come out, as well as stories of the kindnesses of strangers. It is times like these that we forget what makes us different from one another, and remember that we are all Americans - countrymen/women - and will help one another in these times of need.
Glenn Beck and a crew of people headed to Oklahoma last night with two trailer-loads of supplies and offers to help the victims of the tragedy. Please go to his charitable website, MercuryOne, to donate to the 2013 Midwest Tornado Relief fund. At this time, over $500,000 has already been raised, but the scope of the devastation shows that much more will be needed to help the communities working to rebuild.
We must come together and help one another in times of need. Please help out by donating what you can.