Unless you've been under a rock the past 12 hours, most people have heard of the monster tornado that ripped across Oklahoma. Being called the biggest tornado in American history, it was measured an F5 with wind speeds of over 200 mph and 2 miles in diameter. Can you imagine a tornado 2 miles wide? I keep watching videos and I still can't picture it. This tornado ripped through the same town, Moore, that was destroyed back in 1999 by the previous record holding tornado. I can't say that Moore was a special place for me. My Aunt Mary used to live there, but it was mainly a town I passed on my way to Norman. But Moore is still a community, and one that will suffer the loss of those that have died, including those poor children whose elementary schools were destroyed. Seven little kids drowned in a basement. A teacher used her body as a shield for her students. It just gets worse anytime I read the news.
Funny enough, I had no idea what had happened until a Canadian friend of mine texted me. I see tornado stuff on Facebook all the time, so I wasn't too concerned. When she told me what had happened, my first instinct was to text my family, the second was to google the disaster. Thankfully my friends and family were not near the storms and everyone is fine. The rest of the day was spent glued to the computer with tears on my cheeks. Tonight I made a better than average dinner to de-stress, but it felt wrong to be here in relative safety while my fellow Oklahomans lay heartbroken.
I know I gripe about OK quite a bit. I'm not always proud of my state, but I am proud to be from Oklahoma if that makes sense. I may get crap about my accent and people may give me shit about being from the South, but I have no real reason to be ashamed. Oklahomans say "hi" to strangers at the store, and raise their hands in greeting as they drive by. They open the doors for people they don't know, and still pull over to help change flat tires. We have rolling plains and fantastic sunsets and in the spring the hills are covered in Indian Paintbrushes.
I have been so touched by the outpouring of love from friends of all nationalities. This may have happened in my tiny state of Oklahoma, but it was read by the whole world. Canadians, Japanese, South Africans, and those from other states have all sent their well wishes. Things like this remind you how small the world actually is.
If you would like to help, click here for the Red Cross.