NORMAN — Our hearts, already heavy from Sunday’s deadly tornado in far eastern Cleveland County, sunk even further Monday afternoon as we watched the tornado rip through Moore. The monster storm that hit Monday followed nearly the same path as the one in 1999. Both struck and killed many of our neighbors.
The Bridge Creek, Moore and south Oklahoma City communities rebounded from that storm but never forgot its lasting impact. So many lives were lost then and again on Monday. First estimates were 51, then 40 more, then revised down to 24. It was a mistake, according to the medical examiner. Bodies were counted multiple times. We don’t mind retracting such grim numbers.
Grasping the reality of the deaths and injuries may take weeks. The image of carefree elementary school children, waiting to go home on one of the final days of the school year, is hard to escape. So many innocent lives cut short.
The stories of heroic acts are beginning to be told. Teachers shielding students from harm. First responders pulling survivors from school debris. Store clerks herding customers into walk-in freezers or safe rooms.
The resilience displayed by the people of Moore is incredible. To a person, they promised to rebuild and become an even stronger community. We pledge our collective prayers and support, just as we did in 1999.