Memorial Held for Okla. Tornado Victims
MOORE, Okla. — A memorial service was held today at the First Baptist Church in Moore for victims of last week’s massive tornado.
At least 24 people, including 10 children, were killed in the storm.
Sunday’s service lasted about an hour and a half, including prayer, speakers and music.
Tissues were laid out in the pews.
“Our spirits have been shaken this week,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said at the service.
“Our hearts have been broken, but our resolve is strong and we will rise again. In the midst of human tragedy, we’ve seen the best of Oklahoma come forth.”
Fallin held up two items she found in the wreckage of a school — a note from a student, and a poster with classroom rules, imploring children to always do their very best.
She welcomed a teacher and a group of students from Briarwood Elementary. The school was destroyed by the tornado, but everyone survived.
Holding flowers, the students sang “Jesus Loves Me,” a song some of them were singing as the storm blasted their school.
“I think it was probably the start of healing for the community,” Debby Goss, a Shawnee, Oklahoma, resident, said about the prayer service.
“I think a lot of people do pull together here, and this was a good time for them to see each other in one place that wasn’t a rescue center or a disaster area — that there was a peaceful place for them to just sit and think about the other people that are here to support them and help.”
Earlier Sunday, President Barack Obama began touring some of the hardest hit areas and meeting with officials in the Oklahoma City suburb.
About 2,400 homes were damaged or destroyed in Moore and Oklahoma City. The twister directly affected roughly 10,000 residents.
Insurance claims related to Monday’s storm will likely top $2 billion, according to Kelly Collins from the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
(CNN contributed to this report)