By The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City
A row of backpacks on hooks in a roofless grade school corridor. This is just one of many images that will stay with us because they represent the horror without actually being the horror. The fate of the students, the fate of their teachers. The fears of parents helpless to help when their children needed them the most.
So accustomed are Oklahomans to severe weather warnings that Sunday’s tornado outbreak took a while to get our attention.
Then came Monday.
Then came comparisons to May 3, 1999. Then came images of storm path charts showing where the two tornadoes crossed, a common point separated by 14 years and a thousand indelible memories.
Then came the image of the backpacks at a Moore school reduced to rubble in a flash.
It will be ages before anyone questions the need for frequent program interruptions and those annoying weather maps on the bottom of television screens. Our colleagues in broadcast journalism deserve high praise taking the threat seriously from the moment a funnel cloud began its descent near Moore.
How awesome and furious was this fresh show of celestial fury, in a different century yet seemingly in the same place.
Now come the sad stories, the heartrending deaths of young and old, the miracles and the survivals, as the black funnel wraps itself in grief.
Now come the recovery, the selfless deeds, the sacrificial giving and the comforting words.
This is a time when patience is the supreme virtue and thoughtfulness second to none.
The hurts are impaled on our consciousness. The wrath of weather on full display reminds us that there are forces that do not answer to man.
We are at their mercy and all we can do is ask for mercy.
This is all more reason to stay prepared …
Have mercy – once again – on Oklahoma, O Lord! Let your peace prevail.