It’s been six months since an EF-5 tornado took out large parts of Joplin and Duquesne and left us mourning the loss of 161 lives.
In a Nov. 22 memorial service, we honored those we lost and praised those who are still with us and still standing strong six months later.
How long do we need these memorials, these reminders of May 22 and our loss?
For as long as it takes.
How else can we count our achievement unless we remember the darkest of hours? We celebrate the fact that motorists are turning off Range Line to shop at the new 15th Street Walmart.
We’re buying furniture at Slumberland or a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. And the Aldi’s doors are open just in time to prepare a Thanksgiving meal.
Doesn’t it feel good — even if it’s just for one outing a day — to do something normal?
One building at a time, our town is coming back. Every donation and every drop of sweat counts in the rebuilding. And don’t forget those more than 100,000 volunteers who have come to our community because they, like us, believe in Joplin.
We’d ask you to take time today, whether at a formal memorial service or simply from your desk or a chair at the kitchen table, to remember where we’ve been.
The holiday season will be difficult. Certainly it won’t be the same. It’s important today to prepare for what’s coming next. No one ever told us this would be easy.
But, fortunately, no one ever told Joplin that it would be impossible. That’s how we got where we are today.
One milestone at a time.
Copyright The Joplin Globe. Reprinted with permission.