Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of an EF-4 tornado that tore through several cities near me in North Texas, including the one I work for and used to call home. Yesterday I attended the remembrance ceremony intended for us to pause, reflect, and remember. Remember those who were lost. Remember those who survived and are rebuilding. Remember those who responded. And to dedicate a plaque to mark this devastating and defining event.
Ovation is defined as “ There was no ovation during or after the event. No applause for the chorale that sang or for the words from the city officials who spoke and called the names of those 9 souls who were lost. There was silent respect and reflection from the crowd, as well as perhaps a few tears. And at the end, when the plaque was unveiled, a subdued and polite applause to mark the end of the ceremony and the on-going journey to recovery.
New trees have been planted at the lake-side park. Some of the houses have been repaired and rebuilt. But the affect on the lives of those caught in the storm or who responded after the storm will continue for many years to come.
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” ~ Eskimo proverb
After the event I lingered to visit with co-workers who I worked side by side with at our Emergency Operations Center in the hours, days, and weeks following the tragic event. The sun finally shone down from behind the clouds, as I stood by the shore of the lake, thinking the sunlight was sign from those above watching the ceremony. I watched a lady and two young children holding balloons in silver and blue. I watched as the young children then let go of the balloons one at a time and watched them float up and away into the clouds. A simple, touching moment as they remembered their loved one(s) lost that day. I smiled knowing they were able to celebrate in that way, as their gifts made their way toward the heavens.
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” ~ R. J. Palacio’s Wonder
In my heart, I am still mourning those who were lost and giving a standing ovation to those who survived, those who responded, those who donated, and those who continue to recover from that day a year ago.