Obama walked through what was left of Plaza Towers before making a statement.
“Obviously, a picture is worth a thousand words,” Obama said as he stood in front of a massive pile of rubble that used to be Plaza Towers. “What we are seeing here gives you some sense of what the people of Moore and the people of Oklahoma have been dealing with these last several days.”
With Lewis, Fallin, Cole and many others standing behind him, Obama lauded the work of Simpson, McMillin and the first responders as he pointed out that because of their quick response, keeping level heads and putting kids first, they saved a lot of people.
“I’m speaking on behalf of the entire country,” Obama said. “You are not alone. You’ve got folks behind you. This area knows heartbreak. This is a strong community with strong residents,” he said. “They’re going to come back, but they’re going to need help.”
The president’s motorcade left Plaza Towers and drove a few miles to Moore Fire Department’s Main Station No. 1, which has served as a command post for disaster recovery.
Obama spoke with emergency workers, many of them working at cafeteria tables in the station’s empty bays. He thanked them for their efforts.
“We could not be prouder of you,” Obama said. “When we say we’re committed to being here until the work is completed, we mean it. Everybody across the country is rooting for you.”
Obama met in private with some of those affected by the storms and families of the children who died at Plaza Towers before heading back to Washington, D.C.
“It was a very personal, down-to-earth experience,” Lt. Shonn Niedel said. “Way different than what I was expecting.”
Obama spent three hours on the ground in Oklahoma. In that time, Cole said the president showed that he was committed and made an emotional connection with the people of Moore.
“We know Moore is going to come back stronger from this tragedy,” Obama said. “We’re going to be with you every step of the way. This is a strong community with strong character. It’s going to take a long time for the community to rebuild. We know Moore is going to come back strong from this tragedy.”
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