The tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., a year ago Tuesday took 161 lives, injured hundreds more and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings. It also fractured the landscape of the city, and opened the door to a massive rebuilding and recovery operation.
A year later, much of the debris has been cleared and damaged homes wiped from their foundations.
Some have been rebuilt, some never will be. Groundbreakings are being planned to rebuild schools.
Around the community, the devastation from a year ago has been replaced with plans to rebuild, renovate and recover, says New York Daily News.
President Obama delivered a high school commencement address in Joplin, Mo., one year after a horrific tornado destroyed the city, and he couldn't resist the opportunity to gain some political advantage from the event.
The president's speech began well. "We can define our lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond," Obama said, encouraging the students and tornado survivors. "We can choose to make a difference in the world. And in doing so, we can make true what's written in Scripture -- that 'tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope'", informs Washington Examiner (blog).
After the tornado, officials turned a vacant big-box store at the city's only mall into temporary classrooms for juniors and seniors. A warehouse in an industrial park became a middle school
"I'm proud to be a member of the Northpark Mall graduates of 2012," senior class President Chloe Hadley joked. "We have been through the unbelievable, and have become stronger and closer than ever before."
On Tuesday, the Joplin school system will symbolically break ground at three new schools being built to replace those lost last year, including a new high school expected to open in 2014, according to Omaha World-Herald.