It was three days ago – Monday, May 20 – that the sixteen minutes being featured in the talks of so many television personalities changed the lives for some 10,000 people in Moore, Oklahoma. Three days.
We’ve seen an outpouring of the Spirit of Oklahomans as the Oklahoma Standard immediately kicked in. Within minutes of the disaster, people were organizing, gathering supplies, pulling on boots and gloves and headed to Moore, Oklahoma, a place that had, once again, become the epicenter of world events. That was three days ago.
It has rained and thundered and hailed and there have been warnings of lightening strikes, but the help continued to pour in. For three days, we’ve watched our television sets and been moved to tears as people drove up to TV stations, church parking lots, municipal parking lots, cleared lots of businesses and dropped load after load of supplies. Water. Gloves. First aid equipment. Hand sanitizer. Masks. Suntan lotion. Energy bars. Gaiter Aide. On and on the list goes. Usually, the drivers are silent. They’ve come to do their share and to drive on, leaving a small part of themselves behind.
For three days, we listened to Washington leadership, State leadership and local leadership. Everyone has a roll to play and, sadly, they are becoming more and more adept at playing it. They’ve been there before. The losses have been there before – different names, but the same tragic situations. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Loss is loss – the degree of disaster may change but the depth of personal bereavement is always there, especially when there is loss of life.
For three days, there has been the silent, anguished hope that maybe someone else will be pulled from the wreckage – alive. We all know it is a recovery effort, but there is always hope.
This morning – on the third day – we watched as an army of young people, armed with brooms, rakes, hoes, gloves, wheel barrows and plastic bags, moved down a debris lined sidewalk, towards the epicenter. Were they homeowners, going back? Were they emergency people coming in? Who were they. They were walking together as volunteers to clean the Moore Cemetery and make it ready. Memorial Day is coming, but first, bodies must be buried and a clean cemetery needs to be made ready to accept them – it’s one of the last acts of kindness one can do for the now deceased. Twenty-four new residents will be moving in soon and the house needed to be made ready. And it will be, on this, the third day.
The Oklahoma Standard presented itself in an army of quiet young adults, walking in a formation of hope and respect, toward a job that needed to be done on this, the third day.