Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memories and Unsung Heroes

As I watch the TV reports about the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, I am overcome with emotion.  I watch the reunions of parents with their children at the two elementary schools, and pray for those parents whose children didn't survive to come forward.  I thank God for those teachers who covered their students with their own bodies in an attempt to save their lives.  And I admire the bravery of the emergency personnel who searched through the rubble for survivors and now for victims.  Their joy at finding those who survived and their heartbreak at finding those who did not must be extreme, and yet still they continue to do their jobs.

Here in western Pennsylvania, we don't experience many tornadoes.  We did experience a memorable one on May 31, 1985.  We were visiting my parents in a nearby town when Rod's sister called to say that a report of a tornado on our road had come over the police scanner.  We sat their for an hour, not knowing if our home had survived.  Rod had been out of work for quite some time, and had received an offer for a job in Newark, New Jersey.  We didn't want to leave our area; but while we waited, we decided that if our home was gone, it was a sign that it was time to go.  My dad and Rod came out to check on things while the girls and I stayed with my mom.  Not knowing what the area would be like, we felt it best for the kids and I to stay put.  What they found was nothing short of amazing.  One of our neighbors stood on their back deck and watched as the tornado traveled through the field behind our houses.  And yet, our lawn chairs were still standing in the back yard.  The devastation was severe, yet only a few lives were lost.  Many of the residents of our township were attending the graduation ceremony at our high school, and although their homes were damaged or lost, their lives were saved.  We had days with no electricity, the kids thought we were living like the pioneers.  We cooked on the gas grill, stayed outside until dark and then came inside to candlelight until bedtime.  Rod found work with the clean up, and some of what he saw was amazing.

And now, I think of my grand kids who attend elementary school.  Would Bubby be safe in such a circumstance?  I know in my heart that his aide would do everything in his power to save Bubby's life.  And Mary, as an elementary teacher, would protect her students at any cost.

Thank you to the teachers and the emergency responders who do their jobs so selflessly.

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