|The wreckage of an old car near an old school after the tornado of '68|
47 years ago I was just a lad of seven and in the first grade of school attending McKinley Elementary School in Charles City, Iowa, where I grew up. It was on May 15th, 1968 that I attended that school for the last time. Not because I graduated, or because it was the end of the year, but because the school, and the entire city, was struck by a powerful F5 tornado that day.
As you might imagine, there were deaths. 13 people lost their lives that day in that tornado. It lasted a matter of only a few minutes, but in the blink of an eye, my entire world, and that of the rest of the nearly 10,000 residents of the city, were forever changed. It's something that burns into your memory so deeply, that to this day I can vividly recall details of May 15th, 1968 in my mind.
Certainly, we weren't the only people to be affected by tornadoes, or tragedies, but for me, every May 15th, I pause and remember. Some years it hits me harder than others. I guess I felt compelled to share for some reason. It also reminds me of the resiliency of the human spirit. Towns like Charles City rebuild, survive, and even thrive.
So, a special post today to mark the 47th anniversary of that horrific day, and the beginning of a remarkable display of the human spirit.