NORMAN — Facing tragedy, hardship and disaster is not new for the people of Oklahoma, especially those living in my hometown of Moore. While residents in my community lived through what seemed like a nightmare last week, our strength and resilience still shines brightly through the storm and radiates hope of full recovery.
Each house impacted by the horrific tornado last week represents a life and family uprooted. The ruthless storm leveled neighborhoods, injured residents and claimed 24 lives, including 10 precious children. While the area is unrecognizable and the losses are devastating, the community is still alive, strong and hopeful. Always united in good or bad times, the people of Oklahoma push through difficulties together and reveal selfless, strong communities to the rest of the world.
I must commend our state leaders, first responders and volunteers who have led and served our state with great skill, strength and compassion in this very challenging time. The exceptional leadership, dedication and poise of Gov. Mary Fallin is like none other. We are also grateful for the tireless efforts of Civil Emergency Director Albert Ashwood and local leaders like Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, City Manager Steve Eddy and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
First responders deserve more thanks than words can describe. Thrown into a horrifically emotional scene requires strength and dedication beyond comprehension.
After suffering tragedy during the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and again during the great storm of 1999, the nation fittingly has a special place in its heart for our state. The same nationwide support system present in the past has opened once again during this disaster, and the response is overwhelming.
Colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House extended their condolences and offered assistance in relief efforts. Speaker of the House John Boehner encouraged others to join him in sympathy for the people of Moore and the surrounding communities by ordering the flags at the Capitol to half-mast.