The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 19, 2013

Announcements, picnics, tributes all scheduled for tornado anniversary event

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — Wednesday’s second anniversary observance of the May 22, 2011, tornado that devastated the Joplin and Duquesne area is expected to include several key announcements.

Details of what those announcements might be were not being made in advance but were noted in a statement released Saturday by the city of Joplin. The anniversary event, with a theme of “Resilience, Resolve and Realization,” will begin at 4 p.m., with the formal program to start at 4:40 p.m. at Cunningham Park.

A moment of silence will be held at 5:41 p.m., the time that the EF-5 tornado touched down in the western city limits. The storm resulted in the deaths of 161 people. A memorial fountain and plaque at the park commemorate those who died. A volunteer tribute at the park recognizes the more than 175,000 volunteers who have helped the Joplin area recover.

In the press release, City Manager Mark Rohr said the anniversary event will “acknowledge the work and the essence of Joplin and Duquesne citizens who have been through so much these past two years, but continue to move forward.”

City officials say the event is designed to be a casual meeting and learning experience, while giving residents an opportunity to reflect and to meet members of the organizations that have helped the rebuilding effort over the past two years. Several tents will be set up, with representatives from the Long Term Recovery Committee, housing groups, schools, the business community and other organizations to be on hand.

Trees will be given away during the event. They are being provided by the Resource Conservation and Development Program, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and Silver Dollar City.

Food will be catered by Rib Crib and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, with members of the Joplin Sports Authority preparing the items. The public is encouraged to provide picnic-type foods and to have lawn chairs or blankets for seating, the city said.

Parking will be available in outlying neighborhoods, according to the city press release.

2012 observance

A UNITY WALK, spanning the path of the tornado’s destruction in Duquesne and Joplin, was held in 2012 on the one-year anniversary of the tornado. Thousands of people participated in that walk.