MOORE — The last time a flag had flown over Moore Medical Center, it was at 3:21 p.m. May 20, 2013.
Before an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore one year ago today, taking with it lives, houses and the city’s only hospital, an American flag had flown over the facility every day since it opened in 2005.
“It (the flag) was a continued reminder of the sacrifice, courage and honor of those who served our nation in the past, present and future,” said Stacey Kuykendall, executive assistant at the Norman Regional Health System. “Following the tornado, an alert was put out by the city of Moore that we would like to recover the flag. Several days later, a call was received from the Moore city manager that our beloved flag had been found.”
The flag, Kuykendall said, was found by a resident living across the highway from the hospital who discovered it in his backyard while working on debris removal.
“He knew it belonged to the hospital after seeing it fly over our campus for so many years. The flag was recovered, verified and taken for preservation,” Kuykendall said.
On Monday, thanks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the original MMC flag was returned. A little worn and yellowed, the flag is now preserved in a frame that will be located in the physical therapy temporary building located on the former site of MMC, 700 S. Telephone Road.
Once the new facility is built, which officials will break ground on during a ceremony at 10 a.m. today, the flag will find its permanent home.
“It is a great honor and a pleasure that I accept this flag on behalf of the Norman Regional Health System,” said Richie Splitt, vice president and chief administrative officer for the HealthPlex Campus and Moore Medical Center.
Also on Monday, a new flag was raised over the MMC campus. Given to the hospital by the VFW, the new flag was previously flown in Fallujah, Iraq, and will be a representation of those who helped the Moore community following the tornado, the resilience and strength seen from the community and the lives lost May 20, 2013.
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