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updated: 5/24/2013 11:16 AM

Hope from Tragedy in Oklahoma

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Amanda Fowler

This article is dedicated to the people of Moore, Oklahoma. I feel a strange bond with the town, even though I don't have any family there; I think it's because we are part of the "family" of Midwestern states, the group known for wheat fields, long grasses, friendly neighbors…and, unfortunately, tornadoes.

I definitely wanted to identify the "jelly-side up" aspect of this tragedy. And I think, just like in Boston's recent tragedy, the good is found in the people.

The beauty of the kindness of people shined through on Monday and is continuing to do so still. I think, for this tornado-riddled region, there is an inherent kinship in the hearts of the residents.

I think people are still in shock from what happened. In Illinois, we were glued to our TVs and computers all day, watching news streaming live and praying for people and animals to be saved. As the weather system swept past us with only rain, we felt a mixture of relief and survivor's guilt for our Oklahoman neighbors who weren't as lucky.

But there were miracles that happened that day, and miracles continue to happen even now. The fact that the official death count was cut almost in half from Monday to Tuesday was a miracle in and of itself. I've never heard of that happening before. Another incredible miracle was a story of a baby being born in the middle of the tornado. Doctors and nurses bravely moved a woman in labor into a room with no windows, so she wouldn't panic, and they delivered the baby as the walls collapsed around her. Both the mom and baby emerged in full health. The baby was named "Brayden Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." How fitting!

For some people in Moore, I know life will never be the same. Twenty-four families are still in mourning over their lost family members. However, like several of the survivors have said, Oklahoma is no stranger to tornadoes and rebuilding after disasters. People from all over the world are coming together to help out the victims; places as far away as Guam set up disaster relief.

I was deeply moved by the heroism and miracles I saw in the face of tragedy in Oklahoma. It inspired me to write the following poem.


By: Amanda K. Fowler


Not a victory.

Clouds of fate

ripped through

the middle of

the middle of

the country,


buildings and lives


Black clouds

spread across

the whole nation's sky;

the news reached Chicago

before the weather did.

By the time

the storm reached Chicago,

it just brought rain;

but we didn't notice,

because our eyes

were full of water


Swirling around,

everyone's the same,

and people who didn't know

each other yesterday

climb through debris,

risking their own lives

to save another.

Some who went up

will never come back down,

but there is still hope,

and until the last glimmer

goes out, they will

continue to search.

51 to 24 is a miracle;

27 raised from the dead,

27 more prayers to add

for the 24 who flew

into Heaven.

And in the eye of the storm,

two new eyes open

for the first time:

a child is born,

Brayden Emmanuel;

"God is with us,"

says his name,

and we know it is true.

A ray of sun

is breaking through the clouds.


Oklahoma is rebuilding,

and the memories and love

cemented in the old buildings

will be in these, too,

but also,

the new memories

of saviors, heroes, rescues,


light breaking through clouds,


these, too, will be a part

of the renewed Oklahoma.


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