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May 21, 2014

Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost.

However, the Moore Community Remembrance Ceremony was not all tears and sorrow. It also was a day of celebration, survival and new beginnings.

“Our weather is tough, but our people are tougher,” Moore Economic Development Director Diedre Ebrey said.

High winds and sunny skies did not deter the crowd that had gathered.

“Our lives and our community were changed the moment the tornado touched the ground,” said David Whitaker, Norman Regional Health System CEO. “We will all feel the emotions, the pain and the sorrow in our own way ... We will never forget.”

Hospital officials also announced a memorial to tornado victims and survivors to be included in the new multi-million dollar structure planned for the site. A groundbreaking followed the remembrance ceremony, reminding all that life goes on and hope springs eternal, even in the midst of such devastation.

Richie Splitt, chief administrator for the Moore Medical Center, announced that a major art tribute will be included in the new $29 million facility that’s under way on the former site of the hospital, which was destroyed May 20, 2013. Art for Healing will be a major project, and a call for artists has been issued.

“This is where the healing begins,” Splitt said.

Moore Council member Mark Hamm led the audience in a moment of silence. He recalled words of encouragement by Dr. Billy Graham, delivered in remembrance of the Murrah Bombing victims: “Our tears mingle with yours.”

“There’s no timeline on grieving,” Hamm said.

While the tears will never go away, he said he hopes loved ones will be remembered with laughter for the good times shared.

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