What pictures come to mind when you read that word? Neighborhood block parties? Sunday afternoon luncheons? Perhaps you’re thinking about your Mom-group.
Allow me to brag on the community I’ve had the honor of calling my own.
This community has been wiped out by tornadoes and endured tragedy after tragedy.
This community has also grown exponentially in the last 30 years, become a destination for new businesses and families to make roots in, and become an example of strength and resilience.
Moore, Oklahoma is my home. My community.
I remember in 1999 being a young child but still fully understanding the devastation that had literally torn the city to shreds. Driving in the backseat of my grandpa’s car as he drove me a mile down the road. A trip that should’ve taken 3 minutes took over 2 hours because of the amount of debris and destruction in our path. I can see in my mind to this day the people crying and looking through rubble as we inched our way back to my family’s house.
But I also remember feeling for the first time what being part of a close, strong community was all about. I saw the selflessness even as a child. That rare, sacrificial offering of time, energy and resources became abundant in the life of every person in our town.
I remember in 2013 being in my mid-twenties and watching it all happen again. To drive through your home town but not be able to recognize it is a horrible experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Schools hit. Lives lost. Property gone. Everyone was affected in some way or another.
But I also remember seeing everyone – and I mean everyone – in the community come together again. In what resembled a war-torn land, the people of Moore were lending a hand, saying a prayer, joining forces to help one another. Whether that was combing through debris to help a stranger find her wedding ring or going out to dinner to support and sustain the local businesses, we did it.
And then this past Monday happened. Once again Moore found herself on National news headlines for yet another tragedy.
And once again our community came together.
Whether the wake of destruction is caused by a mile-wide tornado or a big, red truck, the entire community aches together with a fierce pain.
Watching the signs of solidarity go up, the prayer meetings get organized, the fund-raising sky rocket, and the support groups come together, shows the world how close of a community Moore is. We mourn together during every storm, and we come out stronger in the end.
#MooreStrong is not just a hashtag. It’s our identity. When tragedy strikes, we all just inherently know what to do. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been through heartbreaks so often. Perhaps it’s something in the water. Whatever the reason, we always react the same. We surround each other in love and support. We give whatever we can give. We pray for one another. We talk with and listen to one another.
I’m not ashamed to brag on my little community of Moore. We have been through it time and time again, yet we are resilient. The people here are unlike any others. We are truly #MooreStrong.
If you are looking for ways to help the families affected by this most recent tragedy, please visit here.