MOORE, OK – In the Weekly Republican Address, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) spoke about the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma earlier in the week. A transcript of his address follows. Further, at the end of this post is a link to the BBC site with a unique online map of the destruction noting where survivors rode out the storm and their stories.
“Oklahoma has been hit hard, but we’re not knocked out,” says Oklahoma’s senior senator, who delivered the address on location in Moore. He continues, “The individuals who lived through these storms are volunteering in the recovery and the assisting efforts right now, and they’re America’s real heroes.”
“Hi, I’m Senator Jim Inhofe from the State of Oklahoma.
“Let me begin by telling those who lost loved ones during the tragic tornadoes in our state how much we love you guys. My family and I continue to pray for you. We pray for you every day.
“I’ve been in constant contact, in communication, with the Oklahoma Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management officials, and the Leaders of the Oklahoma National Guard – you can see over here – that the direct needs of those affected on the ground are being met. Oklahoma has been hit hard, but we’re not knocked out.
“Fourteen years ago, on May 3, 1999, an eerily similar tornado struck the same area of Moore, Oklahoma, and again in 2003. The images and the stories from the storm earlier this week are nothing new. Oklahoma will persevere and overcome this tragedy as we have demonstrated in the past.
“After the Oklahoma City bombing — we all remember that in 1995 — people saw the many ways Oklahomans took care of each other, from running toward the bombing instead of running away, to donating their blood, and their time and their money.
“This daily display of neighbors helping neighbors became known as the Oklahoma Standard. After each disaster the people of Oklahoma face, the Standard is exhibited again and again. In the aftermath of the Moore tornado we are witnesses once again to the Oklahoma Standard.
“The accounts of two elementary schools that were wiped out by the winds of 200 miles an hour have struck a chord, I think with all Americans – with everyone watching us now — all Americans across the country. It was the last day of school for most of the students — you know how excited they get — when the storm tore through the town of Moore, leaving little in its path. We’re beginning to hear about the selfless acts Oklahomans demonstrated to ensure the safety and protection of their fellow neighbors, and their friends, and their students. Second-grade teacher Tammy Glasgow kept praying with her students and reminding them how much she loved them as she and her students took cover in a school closet; We had Suzanna Haley, she was a first-grade special education teacher in Briarwood Elementary School, suffered a severe injury when part of a school desk was impaled in the back of her leg while protecting the students in her classroom. The most heart-wrenching testimony I’ve heard is from the person who was responsible for matching the missing kids with the missing parents.
“The individuals who lived through these storms are volunteering in the recovery and assisting efforts right now, and they’re America’s real heroes.
“I have seen people from all corners of the state continuing to flock to the devastating areas to give their time, their money, and their energy to help meet the dire needs of those injured or displaced. The Oklahoma Standard has survived an act of terror in 1995 and devastating natural disasters in the past. This most recent storm will only embolden the standard, and encourage the rest of the country to follow our lead.
“But our victims desperately need your help right now, they need your money. If you are able, please visit the American Red Cross website at AmericanRedCross.com or the Salvation Army website at SalvationArmyUSA.com to volunteer.
“I can speak for all Oklahoma today when I thank you for your continued thoughts, your prayers, your support as we begin the recovery process. Oklahoma is grieving and in pain, but the devastation such as this tends to bring us closer together as a country.
“I thank you for listening and God bless those who are suffering today and God bless the United States of America.”
From the BBC, Oklahoma tornado: Survivors’ tales from eye of the storm
Here, survivors reflect on their experiences, in video, of when the 200 mph wind battered their homes in the Oklahoma City suburb.