President Obama visited Joplin to see Tornado damage

The Washington Post reported this morning:

Week after deadly tornado nearly levels Joplin, Obama consoles Mo. city and pledges help

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, May 30, 3:15 AM

JOPLIN, Mo. — Exactly a week after Joplin was nearly leveled by the deadliest tornado to strike the U.S in decades, President Barack Obama visited the Missouri city to offer hope to survivors and promises of help.

Obama came face to face Sunday with the legions of homeless, consoling the community as it remembered the more than 130 people killed in the storm. The memorial service erupted in cheers when Obama said, “I promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way,” a pledge he extended to all parts of the nation raked by violent storms this season.

The service punctuated a day of remembrance as authorities pressed on with the task of identifying the victims and volunteers combed through the apocalyptic landscape of wrecked neighborhoods where nothing was left whole.

Hundreds stood in Joplin’s Cunningham Park for a moment of silence at 5:41 p.m. — to mark the first report of the tornado — surrounded by wrecked cars and twisted poles. Many in the crowd wore white T-shirts emblazoned, “Joplin’s Heart Will Sing Again.”

“We will rebuild Joplin,” City Manager Mark Rohr told the crowd. “You have my word on it.”

Obama made the same vow hours earlier during the service, telling locals: “We’re not going to stop ‘til Joplin’s back on its feet.”

The Joplin tornado was the worst to hit the United States in decades. Hundreds were injured, and 39 people remained unaccounted for as of late Sunday. There are four more people whom family members have reported as deceased, but those deaths haven’t been officially confirmed.

Air Force One flew over a massive swath of brown — a land of flattened houses and stripped trees — on its approach to Joplin. On the ground, the destruction was even more stark and complete. Obama confronted painful sights at every turn and said nothing in his life measured up to what he saw this day.

Yet he spoke, too, of redemptive moments, the stoicism of the community and tales of plain luck. He told a story of a man he talked to who had taken a chicken pot pie out of the oven, heard the storm was coming, hid in a closet and “came out without a scratch.” Obama celebrated the spirit of volunteers who have flocked to Joplin to help, the pickup truck owners who ferried people to the hospital and the citizens who lined up for hours to donate blood to people they don’t know.

“You’ve demonstrated a simple truth,” he told the service, “that amid heartbreak and tragedy no one is a stranger. Everybody is a brother. Everybody is a sister. We can all love one another.”

The crowd of hundreds at the service reflected a community in the midst of rebuilding: people in shorts and baseball caps, and plenty of babies who occasionally burst out crying. The president talked over the screeching until a baby was hurried out by the mother.

Obama got a notably warm reception in this conservative part of Missouri. His remarks were tailored for a religious service, with quotes from scripture, references to the love that binds people to each other, and comments on the essential goodness of humanity. The stories of the storm lead us to “put aside our petty grievances,” the president said. “There are heroes all around us, all the time. So, in the wake of this tragedy, let us live up to their example: to make each day count.”

Known for his cool, even-tempered demeanor, Obama offered his own brand of comforting: eloquent words, plentiful handshakes, some hugs, pats on the heads of children, offers of “God bless you.” Not for him the raw emotion Americans saw in his predecessors George W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

Before the service, Obama’s motorcade pulled into a neighborhood where downed trees cleaved open houses, roofs were stripped or blown off, cars were cratered and splintered wood was everywhere. He saw nothing intact, but rather small domestic sights — a view into a room with a TV still in place, a recliner sitting amid rubble, a washer-dryer standing next to a decimated house. American flags were planted here and there in the mess.

“Sorry for your loss,” Obama told an anguished woman, hugging her twice as they talked. Another woman told him that her uncle lives up the road — he survived but his house did not. “Tell your uncle we’re praying for him,” the president said.

To those working at the scene, the president said: “We appreciate everything you guys are doing. God bless you.” One volunteer told him that people were coming in from other states to help in any way they could.

“This is not just your tragedy,” Obama said. “This is a national tragedy, and that means there will be a national response.” He said: “We are going to be here long after the cameras leave.”

___

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Other posts dealing with this subject:

President Obama visited Joplin to see Tornado damage

The Washington Post reported this morning: Week after deadly tornado nearly levels Joplin, Obama consoles Mo. city and pledges help By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, May 30, 3:15 AM JOPLIN, Mo. — Exactly a week after Joplin was nearly leveled by the deadliest tornado to strike the U.S in decades, President Barack Obama visited the Missouri city to offer […]

Joplin Tornado hits gas station, video during tornado and aftermath

First Person video of Joplin MO tornado 5/22/11 I have posted a video of the outside of the gas station after the tornado here…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-P4P68YyNM The video i took of the F5 tornado while at Fastrip on east 20th street. We huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then […]

Death Toll from Joplin Tornado revised from 142 to 139 with only 100 missing

Clothes hang on makeshift rack Clothes hang on a makeshift rack outside a destroyed home in Joplin, Missouri May 28, 2011. Seven more people were confirmed dead over the last 24 hours, bringing the number of fatalities from the powerful Joplin tornado to 139, the city said on Saturday. The Associated Press reported tonight: JOPLIN, Mo. […]

Joplin tornado death toll 139

Hospital workers walk away in Joplin, Mo Hospital workers walk away from the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city,damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses The Associated Press reported today that death toll from Joplin, Mo., tornado climbs to […]

65 tornadoes in Arkansas this year, past average was 26

      Destroyed vehicles are piled on top of one another in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. Photo by The Associated Press. ArkansasKTHV Channel 11 in […]

230 people still missing after Joplin tornado

  Volunteer firefighters William Jackson Volunteer firefighters William Jackson, left, and Ashley Martin, center, from Oklahoma, and Johnny Ward of Joplin look through the wreckage of a home whereit was feared a pregnant woman as feared to be trapped following a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much […]

Why so many tornadoes in 2011?

Destroyed vehicles are piled on top of one another in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. Photo by The Associated Press. CNN: 2011 tornado season worst since […]

Deadliest Tornadoes in USA History

The Killing Wind – The F5 Tornado in Flint Michigan The Killing Wind takes you back to 1953, before weather sirens, doppler radar, and tornado warnings. On that fateful night in June of 1953, an incomprehensible F5 tornado, the most powerful of its kind in the world, descended during the dinner hour on a main […]

Pictures of Tornado damage May 24, 2011 Oklahoma, Arkansas Kansas

  A passing motorist volunteers his time to the search efforts in a wooded area where two fatalities were confirmed after a tornado swept cars off of I-40 west of El Reno, Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman   A half-mile-wide tornado moves north in Canadian County having just crossed SH […]

Best Storm chaser videos May 24, 2011 Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas

May 24, 2011 Oklahoma tornado outbreak! TVN storm chasers document multiple tornadoes in Central Oklahoma! Near Shawnee, OK… May 24, 2011… Very nice tornado Storm chasers Matt Gingery, Jason Blum, and Bryant Burough capture a tornado just north of Shawnee, OK. Wedge tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma! During the May 24, 2011 high risk outbreak, […]

Tornadoes kill 13 in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas

Oklahoma Tornado 5-24-2011 – Devastating AERIEL Damage View A half a mile wide went through a suburb of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 24th 2011. Truck marked, lies on its side A truck marked with an ‘x’, lies on its side in a field following a tornado in Piedmont, Okla., Tuesday, May 24, 2011. The […]

Death toll to 125 in Joplin, How can a good God allow evil and suffering?

First Person video of Joplin MO tornado 5/22/11 The video i took while at Fastrip on east 20th street. We huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then ran into the walk in storage fridge. Sorry for the lack of visuals but the audio is pretty telling of […]

Best Storm Chaser videos of Joplin Tornado May 22, 2011

Destructive Joplin Missouri Torando On May 22, 2011 a destructive and sadly a deadly tornado tore through the town of Joplin, MO. Here is video of the tornado entering the southwest side of town. Filmed by TornadoVideos.net Basehunters Colt Forney, Isaac Pato, Kevin Rolfs, and Scott Peake. Missouri tornado filmed by storm chasers At least […]

Pictures of Tornado damage in Joplin, MO May 22, 2011

  Destroyed helicopter lies on its side A destroyed helicopter lies on its side in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornadomoved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses Emergency personnel walk Emergency personnel walk through […]

Video clips of tornado in Joplin,MO May 22, 2011(includes footage from the air, and storm chaser video)

 The last video listed does not have very good pictures but you hear when the tornado hits a building where people inside are filming. The sounds are just horrible and a cold feeling went through my body just listening to it. Joplin, Missouri tornado damage from the air Tornado damage of Joplin, Missouri. Aerial coverage […]

At least 89 dead, but still counting in Joplin, MO

    Volunteer firefighters William Jackson Volunteer firefighters William Jackson, left, and Ashley Martin, center, from Oklahoma, and Johnny Ward of Joplin look through the wreckage of a home whereit was feared a pregnant woman as feared to be trapped following a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: