VIDEO: Joplin marks anniversary of devastating tornado with rebuilding, presidential visit
Joplin, Mo., is a city on the road to recovery. Just one year ago it was devastated by a deadly tornado. Tuesday, it broke ground on new schools and Monday it welcome President Barack Obama to town.
One year ago, a devastating tornado hit the town of Joplin, Mo., leaving 161 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Thousands of buildings were destroyed, including the town's high school, middle school and elementary school. President Barack Obama marked the anniversary by giving Joplin High School’s commencement address Monday evening.
"You'll bring that spirit of Joplin, to every place you travel. To everything you do. You can serve as a reminder that we're not meant to walk this road alone," he said.
Most of the city’s students have been attending class in malls and warehouses, but that will soon change. Construction crews broke ground Tuesday morning on three new schools.
Susan Moore, a kindergarten teacher at Irving Elementary, one of the schools destroyed by the Joplin tornado, planned to attend the groundbreaking ceremony.
But it'll be at least another year and a half, perhaps even two years, before the new buildings are ready, she said.
The past year was a challenge, not only because of being in temporary buildings, but also because of the emotions and memories students have from last year.
"There was a lot of anxiety this spring when the storm season hit, but we made it through. We made it though together," Moore said.
She said having the president visit her town and deliver the commencement address was "amazing."
"It didn't matter whether you like the guy or don't like the guy ... the president came to our town. He spoke at our graduation. That's cool. That's something those kids will always look back on," Moore said.
She said Obama was spot on when he touted the "spirit of Joplin." The town, she said, pulled together and worked as one since the devastating tornado more than a year ago.
"It's like nothing I've ever seen before," she said.
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