But last weekend was anything from normal. Sunday evening to Monday afternoon, monstrous tornadoes ripped apart communities and neighborhoods with a force that is rarely seen. It was horrific, devastating, and heart breaking. It was not the normal. Red Cross, FEMA, and the National Guard rushed in to help as adults and children alike were being pulled from the rubble. Our local newscasters who are so used to reporting on tornadoes and torn up fields, were breaking down in tears on camera.
It has been so interesting to watch the difference in reporting between local news and national news. National broadcasts have been flooded with opinions about what Oklahomans should and shouldn't do, where we should have shelters, where we should build homes. One newscaster even said "Parents shouldn't send their children to school on days there might be a tornado." (My mom informed me of this through a series of irritated text messages concerning the 'stupid national news people'). But really, these people have no idea what they're talking about. Basically that means no one would go to school past february.
I have been so impressed with our local news stations. They're reports have been so heartfelt. As we all watched Lance West break down into tears on the scene in Moore, you couldn't help but feel the connection to the victims. Okies have such an incredible way of connecting in times of distress. It happened after the bombing, it happened after the May 3rd tornado in '99, and it is happening now. Oklahomans are resilient, and no matter how hard we get beat down, nothing can keep us from getting back up. Not even the most powerful tornado in American history.
It only took 24 hours for Red Cross to announce they were no longer taking In Kind donations- they had received more than enough bottled water and other goods.
I don't know how many interviews I have watched of people who have lost everything and they stand with a smile on their face- grateful to be alive, and ready to help their neighbors dig through piles of what used to be their homes. Time and time again I hear people who have not two pennies to rub together and only the clothes on their body, and yet they are spending hours in the rain helping a friend. We are such a community in this state, and I am so blessed to be a part of it.
"Why would anyone want to live in that state?" the rest of the nation asks...
BECAUSE, when the Today Show and The Red Cross pack up and head out, we Okies will pull together like we always do. And a few years from now we'll all remember being scared, we'll all remember being sad, but thats not what will stick the most. It'll be the memories of coming together.