From the boys…
We have never seen anything like Joplin, MO. It was like a horror movie. There were blocks where houses once were that had just been completely flattened, or houses that had been ripped in half or without roofs. All of us were scared to be there. We almost got teared-up looking at this town.
We couldn’t believe the devastation that had happened to these homes and businesses and for the most part, the lives of these people. The high school there was torn in half, the roof had caved in and there was a ripped apart car inside of the school. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be sitting in your house and just look out your window and see a giant wall of destruction tearing apart your town and picking up cars, houses, businesses and people.
The houses had the addresses and names of the people that lived there spray painted on them, so that other people wouldn’t come in through the parts that had been torn apart from the house. Some of the businesses had been rebuilt but most were just in pieces on the ground.
Nathan wondered about where these people were sleeping. And Niall said the path of the tornados seemed like the pattern of a school district – random instead of orderly.
“Like gerrymandering,” Niall said. “It hit one side of the road and one side was okay. I saw places where there was once a happy neighborhood, where people were having potlucks and parties, that now looks like the prairie.”
[Dad note: We decided to veer off the Interstate to take a brief tour of Joplin. It’s been two months since a massive tornado ravaged this quaint city, killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds. While there are signs of hope and promise, vast parts of Joplin remain ruined, with huge mounds of rubble piled everywhere. When we first pulled into town, the boys did their usual hunt for skate spots. “Ooh, look at that gap,” said one. “Let’s eat at Chili’s,” said another. But as we got deeper into the worst-hit areas, the van became quiet. The above story was written by Leo, based on notes from the other boys. As Leo mentioned, we were moved by what we saw, and a few of us got choked up.]
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