There may be no other day that evokes such strong memories and reactions for the Joplin area as today, May 22.
Just one year ago, an EF3 tornado ripped through Carl Junction, damaging more than 300 homes in Briarbrook and other neighborhoods. Another EF3 tornado hit Golden City, killing three people there.
The city of Carl Junction and its residents responded quickly, moving to clean up debris and rebuild where it was needed. Assistance poured in from surrounding communities, helping to speed along the process and spreading the burden of recovery and relief efforts.
“You had people, of course, from all over the city but also surrounding communities that were just getting out and helping people, people they’ve never known before,” LaDonna Allen, city councilwoman and tornado recovery volunteer, told us. “We saw friendships forged at that response center. It was the neatest thing to see the relationships that were formed.”
One year after the storm, you can read that story of resilience on today's front page.
Going back further in our collective memory, we recognize that today also is the ninth anniversary of the deadly 2011 tornado, an EF5 monster that damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Joplin and killed 161 people.
A plan by organizers of the Joplin Memorial Run to put up banners today that honor the 161 victims won't be happening because of the possibility of severe weather. But that doesn't mean we can't remember them. Head over to Cunningham Park, which features a memorial inscribed with their names, to pay tribute.
As a community, Joplin has come a long way since May 22, 2011. Neighborhoods and schools have been rebuilt, trees have been replanted, businesses have reopened, safe rooms have been installed. A lot of healing has taken place, and a more weather-aware attitude exists.
But the pain of losing 161 of our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers still stings. Those who lost their lives on this day nine years ago will never be forgotten.