So today was definitely one for reflection. Six months ago an EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin and nearby Duquesne, leaving thousands suddenly homeless and killing 161 (somehow, only that many died). As I look around Joplin as it is today, it's still obvious something came through, but the devastation is hidden by progress now. Stores have re-opened, homes have been rebuilt and are in the process of being rebuilt, and the community has moved from reacting to looking ahead.
There are still those who dwell on the devastation, and I can't say that I blame them. There are those who see themselves as more of a victim than others; you can see one of my previous posts about those kind of people. But the majority of them are optimistic, even though rebuilding will take another year or so.
What happened on May 22nd, 2011 was a tragedy that I hope will never be reproduced. What happened in the days that followed were a miracle that I wish I could see more of, with strangers looking out for each other and neighbors coming together.
I'm not sure just how to feel about this 6-month mark. Perhaps I'm too close to the story; I've become somewhat callused toward it, but I would imagine you'd have to to keep from going insane. One thing I am sure of, though: I'm proud of the people here, of their spirit, and their dedication to both each other and their community.
I've only been here just under 8 months, but I feel like I'm a part of it too. They are Joplin, and so am I.