tv Your Money CNN May 29, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
>> reporter: what was it that went in here? >> it went right through the house. >> it went right through the house? >> reporter: in one of the hardest hit areas, steven is the only one trying to build. his house, the only one still stands but shredded inside and out by debris. >> there was a piece of panelled come through and wedged inside of it right there. >> if someone had been hiding in the closet. that wouldn't have been safe either. >> reporter: his family survived huddled and praying in the hallway floor. three next door neighbors died. a google view shows a wooded nablt neighborhood full of life. this is what it looks like now. after everything that's happened, what made you decide to come back? >> this is home. >> reporter: and like so many
hit by this tornado, brown is getting help from volunteers, offering food, sweat, and comfort. brown tells me he's learned something and wants to tell the people of joplin, don't turn down help and don't give up. >> if you can't go anywhere, you always go home. >> wouldn't it have been easier for you to pack it in, say i'm not going back and startover somewhere. >> would have been a whole lot easier, but i won't let this get me down. >> reporter: a full month after a deadly tornado and so many still so slow to turn the corner from surviving to recovery. david mattingly, cnn, tuscaloosa, alabama. >> you're in the cnn newsroom for this special report. this special joplin memorial service this sunday, may 29.
it's going to begin any minute. live pictures of all those who have a ticket and a seat in place. president barack obama is also there. he's seen for himself the destruction that left behind the destruction of last world series eek tornado and he also met face to face with many of the survivors. our dan lothian is traveling with the president. he's also there in joplin. casey wian is there and jacqui jeras has more. dan, let's start with you, the focus here, his message to the people of joplin. >> reporter: the message being that the federal government will be here to assist inny way possible. he'll be delivering the remarks in a short time. he did get a chance to meet them up close, shake their hands. he promised that the federal
government would take on this tragedy. that it was not just their tragedy alone but it would be a national response. also promising the federal government will be here long after the cameras lead. so really sort of an upbeat message from the president, a realization it will take yearing to recover but the federal government will help. >> thanks so much from joplin, missouri. appreciate it. also in joplin, casey wian. casey, the president got a chance to see firsthand for himself the devastation there. you also got a chance to talk with people who said it's not six miles that this tornado was on the ground but perhaps double that number. >> reporter: absolutely. it's 12 miles. we went from the beginning till the end, west to east and followed the path of the tornado yesterday and it's 12 miles, and it's about three quarters of a mile wide. an incredible path of
destruction. the president is a very popular figure in this part of the country. he lost this part of the country in 2008. you hear a lot of grumbling from folks on the ground here, a minority of folks,ly say, wishing that he hadn't come, wishing that he hadn't had to use 130,000 law enforcement officers to guard his motorcade. they know they're going to need the federal assistance to move forward with this big job of rebuilding. >> casey wian, thanks so much. you're seeing at the bottom of your screen the live service. understand the president had entered the building there and the program is just about to get under way. our jacqui jeras here in the newsroom, meteorologist, was also there. so far this has been an
unbelievable year of tornadoes. on record according to the national weather service this is proving to be the deadliest and most active this year since the 1950s. >> we've had a lard number that have touched down. unfortunately many have touched down in populated places. that's one of the reasons why the death toll is so high. this is the highest death toll we've seen since then but there are reports prior to that. for example in 1925 there were reports of 695 fatalitiefatalit. we'll see as we progress through but this is unheard of to see so much destruction. >> thus far, the death toll, 122. i want to take you straight to the joplin memorial service right now with the "national anthem" being sung.
heavenly father, we take time to pause, reflect, and pray, amidst the pain and heart of this devastation we have no doubt about your presence among us. you are infusing in each of us from near and afar a strength and resilience that is a special gift. you are calling our already close-knit community to new heights and determination and purpose. we hear the mission you have ebb trusted to us, and with your help we will put our hands to the plow. we are grateful for the support you are sending us and for the backing of our governor and state and for the enormous support from our president and our country at this time of renewal and restoration.
father, we open to your will. amen. please be seated. welcome and thank you for coming to today's memorial service. customarily a greeting would include such words a s as ladied gentlemen and honored guests, but when there has been deep shared pain, when a community has suffered greatly and cried much together and when the compassion and the kindness extended to one another has gone far beyond the scope of words, a more tender language than honored guests or ladies and gentlemen. words like friends and neighbors
and family and brothers and sisters. words like us. that's who gathers here today with us. thank you for your coming. thank you for your role in each others' lives. thank you for what you mean to one another. a prayer which was led by father justin monaghan who by the grace of god in a stout bathtub survived the devastation on 26th street and physically and metaphorically the cross still stands. [ applause ] there's a three-fold purpose to this gathering.
the first is to grieve. the loss of even one human life is a tragedy. and we have lost scores. we also gather to pray god's blessings as we rebuild our lives, asking god to lead us as we rebuild around the things that matter most. and we gather to celebrate the kindness that people have and are giving to one another. our foundation has not moved. it's still in the same place. we still have a solid place to stand. in rome, the eighth chapter apostle paul wrote these words, what then shall we say to these things. if god is for us, who can be against us. he spared his own son. how did he graciously given us all thing. who shall separate us from the love of christ, shall tribulation or distress or persecution or damage or nakedness or danger or sword?
no, no. in all these things we are human conquers in things that love us. i am confident that neither death, life, angels, rulers, or anything that comes to powers or anything else in all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of god in christ jesus our lord and now with the hymn of promise, the chancellor choir of the first united methodist church under the direction of larry sandler. >> you're watching live the joplin community memorial service taking place in joplin, missouri. 143 people died in the tornado that devastated the community one week ago. now a special service to honor the dead and the survivors. what's this option? that's new.
back now at the joplin community memorial service. right now the first united methodist chancellor choir is singing right now. the president of the united states is also there sitting in the first row. he'll be speaking momentarily. he's already looked at the devastation throughout joplin, missouri, one week after that tornado, ef-5 tornado swept through the area. he'll be having remarks. let's listen in. ♪ [ applause ]
pastor aaron brown has been a good friend in the four-state area, a faithful partner in the gospel and a shepherd of st. paul's united methodist church. it, too, has lost much, including its worship center. he'll have our message this afternoon. >> we're all trying to -- trying to process our stories and understand them in the context of what's happened, and i thought i'd take the liberty of telling you about mine on sunday. our family lives south of the city of joplin and after the tornado i drove as far as i could into town and ran to the home of one of my closest
friends. his house was gone but he and his family were safe. from there i was able to run to our church on 26th and monroe and found about a third of it was gone and i just had to know if everybody inside was safe. and there was one person in the church at the time the tornado hit, and she was safe. she hid under a dishwasher in our kitchen. i went out to the street and what i saw was that people were just running. i didn't know what else to do so i just ran alongside people and i said can i help you find somebody. and i dug through houses. i prayed with a young couple whose friends didn't make it out of their house. and across the street from there, there were two elderly people that had died in their own backyard. i don't know their names. but there was just a lot of running and digging and hoping and praying. that's what i remember. i got called back to the church
and the kids' wing of our church miraculously was still standing and it became a triage center. it's ironic, the classrooms that the children had played that morning, laughed around, learned about geez. they became the place where wounds were being treat, broken bones were being set and emergency surgeries were being performed. tables that children had been making crafts became beds for the woulded. we have all spent the last seven days looking for family and friends. we've had unbelievable relief at hearing a familiar voice, and we've had those moments where we had heart-sickening pain where we know someone didn't make it. late friday night i deliver the news to them that their son's body had been identify.
18 years old. absolutely overflowing with life and faith. he had just graduated from high school hours before he was killed. will is one of, from what i've heard recently, one of 142. what is the word of comfort for us today? the word of comfort today for will's family and all of those grieving comes from the god of the universe, the god who took human form and walked among us. he suffered. he knows what it's like for us when we suffer. and jesus said this. do not let your hearts be troubled. trust in god. trust also in me. he said in my fathers house there are many rooms. if wirt not sew, i would haven't told you. he said i will go and prepare a place for you. i will come back and take you to be with me so you also can be where i am. before long the world will not see me anymore but you will see me and because i live you also
will live. he says a few minutes later, peace i leave with you, my peace i leave with you. i do not give as the world gives, so do not let your hearts betroubled and do not be afraid. i think what god is saying right now is death does not get the last word. think god is saying to the families right now, this is what i wanted you to see in the resurrection of jesus, that death doesn't win ever. even when you thing it does -- [ applause ] >> got is saying to families who lost someone, even if it looks like death wins, it doesn't get the last word. life wins. life wins. [ applause ] >> i'll be honest. i don't know the faith stories of all those that have died.
i don't know their faith stories. but i know this. that god's grace is wider than we can ever imagine, that heaven is real, and that this life is not the only life that we see. i need to be honest and confess, some of us are asking why. why did god do this, why did god allow this, so much death so, much destruction. but listen. jesus never promised to protect us from the storms of life. he never promised that life would be easy or convenient if we chose to follow him. in fact, almost all of his disciples, they were tortured to death. what he did promise was very simple and powerful. to be with us. to be with us throw the storm, to be with us as we grieve, to be with us as we stand at the grave site of our loved ones. to be with us and listen to us and guide us, and our challenge
is will we let him. as hard as it may be, pray, as hard as it may be, talk to god. as hard as it may be, listen to his words. let him love you. let him love you. listen, god didn't do this to join lynn to punish us. read the book. jesus took our punishment for us. read the book. [ applause ] this happened -- this happened because life on this side of eternity is unpredictable. it's chaotic and it's broken. god says this, for god so loved the world he gave his one and only son and he hasn't stopped loving the world. you may wonder but god loves you and god loves joplin and god is walking through this tragedy today and he will make a way
where it seems like there is no way. when jesus was crucified, everybody, mine everybody thought it was the end. the disciples had forgotten everything he had told them. their world had come crashing down around them. there was this eerie darkness that crashed around them. for days there was no hope. but then, but then, then easter. death is swallowed up in victory. light crushes the darkness. life wins. life won then. and life wins now. and now what do we do? we get busy. jesus didn't come back from the grave just to point us to heaven. he came back from the grave to give us a mission that those who call on his name would be the light of the world. his mission is for us to get
busy, get busy serving, get busy rebuilding our city which i love. and by the way, i think it is the center of the universe right here in joplin, missouri. [ applause ] >> let's get busy. let's get busy loving more deeply than we ever have loved. you get busy taking care of your soul. get busy connecting to god, the god that knows you by name and loves you more than you could ever imagine or believe. for those of you who have lost loved ones, get busy living out their legacy. they may have lost their lives, but none of them would want you to stop living yours. get busy living. we are not a people without hope. we are people from whom hope and light and life shines to tends of the earth because god is good all the time. and all the time god is good.
[ applause ] in the name of jesus the lord of life, the lord of light, the lord of hope, that is the good news, amen. [ applause ] >> aaron, a simple thank-you is not adequate enough. thank you. it's now my privilege to introduce a man i have much appreciated the week. i've been in several meetings where he was present. i have been in conversation with him. i appreciated not only what his power and his office can do but i have genuinely appreciated
of joplin who have endured this terrible tragedy, to the thousands of missourians and citizens across the nation who have opened their hearts to help us heal, to the hundreds of firefighters and emergency responders who came without hesitation to climb over piles of rubble in search of our survivors. to pastor garris, to pastor brown, father monaghan, lieutenant colonel kilmer and the wonderful choir from the wonderful united methodist church. to president obama who's with us today. thank you all for coming. it is an honor to be here. joining the thousands of missourians s joining in this special day of prayer. we stand on hallowed ground, to
the witness of destructive nature, power of nature, and the invincible power of faith. we have come to mourn what the storm has taken from us, to seek comfort in community. and to draw strength from god to build anew. it seems inconceivable that just one week ago the people of joplin were going about their daily lives, doing the ordinary things that people do on a sunday evening, cooking supper, watching tv, walking the dog, attending their sons' and daughters' graduation. and then came the whirlwind.
nearly a mile wide and six miles long with its 200 mifrp winds churning and roaring toppling businesses, homes, schools, and churches to rubble. but that storm, the likes of which we have never seen, has brought forward a spirit of resilience, the likes of which we've also never seen. [ applause ] >> what our nation and our world have witnessed this week is the spirit of joplin, missouri. [ applause ] >> and we're humbled by it. you have given "love thy
neighbor" new meaning. the parable of the good samaritan, luke, chapter 10, versus 25-37, begins with a conversation between jesus and a student of religious law. it starts with the legal question and ends with a moral imperative. the student asks jesus, what shall i do to inherit eternal life, and jesus turns the question around and says what is written in the law? and the student who is well versed replies, "thou shalt love the lord thy god with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and all thy mind and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
jesus answered, thou is right. he asked jesus, and who is my neighbor? and jesus tells him the story of the good samaritan. from that parable our charge is crystal clear. good samaritans do not ask. they show their compassion with action. in joplin, you see good samaritans everywhere you turn. you see them over at the gym where hundreds of volunteers make sandwiches each and every single day. they pass out blankets and flashlights. to a neighborhood needs flash
lights, especially when you're standing in the street stairing at the lonely pile of match sticks that was once your family's home. if you had been at the e.r., st. john's emergency medical center last sunday evening mere moments after the tornado struck, you would have seen good samaritans rushing frantically to reach the wounded and the dying, shattered glass and bleeding patients everywhere. water and gas spewing from burst pipes. one doctor stumbled through the darkness with a flashlight in his teeth following the wail of a wounded child. you see good samaritans at every checkpoint in a construction zone who are police officers and citizen soldiers, national guard keep watch is over wet socks, teddy bears, cherished wedding photos, wheelchairs, all that is
left of our neighbors' worldly goods. you see them in the church yard, men sleeping on cots under the stars after driving all night to get here from tuscaloosa. [ applause ] these men were so touched, so moved by the kindness of strangers in their hour of need that they just had to come joplin. good samaritans on a mission from god. god has chosen us for a mission too. to grieve together, to comfort one another, to be patient with one another, to strengthen one
another, and to build joplin anew. [ applause ] not just to build it back the way it was but to make it an even better place. we know all those who perished here are already in an even better place. but for us living, there is work to do. god says show me. show me. [ applause ] people in missouri were born for
this mission. [ applause ] we are famously stubborn and self-reliant. practical, impatient, but whatever may divide us, we always come together. and once we do, no fire, no storm, no floods can turn us from our past. [ applause ] in the pale hushed stillness before dawn when the chain saws have fallen silent, if you listen very closely, you can hear the sound of that resolve like a tiny silver hammer
tapping, tapping, tapping inside each of our heads. in the days to come, the satellite trucks will pack up and leave town. joplin's story will disappear from the front pages but the tragedy will not disappear from our lives. we will still be here in joplin, together, preparing for long journey out of darkness into light, and we will need more hands, more tools, more good samaritans every step of the way. [ applause ] this tragedy has changed us forever. this community will never be the same. we will never be the same.
the freef we share at this moment is overwhelming. that sorrow will always be a part of us, a stone upon our hearts. but those we love, those we lost are safe with god and safe in our hearts. and in our hearts the joy they gave us lives on and on. nothing can take that from us. we can and we will heal. we've already begun. together we can and we will rebuild upon a granite foundation of faith. what we build on this hallowed ground will be a living monument to those we lost. mothers, fathers, our precious children. it will be a monument to the
will and determination of the hundreds of men, women, and, yes, even children who helped their neighbors dig out of the ruins. a monument to the sear search & rescue crews who came swiftly to aid the quick and the dead. by god's grace, we will restore this community. and by god's grace we will renew our souls. one year from today, joplin will look different and more different still in two years and three and five. and as the years pass, the moral of our story will be the same. love thy neighbor.
coming all across our country and to communities across the nation who are struggling to recover in the aftermath of deadly storms and floods. the weight on your shoulders is heavy. we will continue to need that help in the months and years to come. on behalf of all of the people of my great state, mr. president, we thank you for your service to our country. [ applause ] and now i'm honored to present the 44th president of the united states, barack obama. [ applause ]
>> thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you so much. please. please, be seated. >> i love you, barack obama. >> i love joplin! i love joplin. >> we love joplin! >> we love joplin. [ applause ] >> thank you, governor, for that powerful message, but more importantly for being here with and for your people every step of the way. we are grateful to you, to
reverend garris. father monaghan, i'm so glad you got in that tub. >> yeah! >> to merlin brown for that incredibly powerful message. to senator claire mccaskill who's been here and congressman billy long, mayor woolston, to craig fugate who doesn't get a lot of attention, but he heads up fema, our emergency response at the federal level. he's been going from us the tus joplin and everywhere in between tirelessly doing outstanding work. we're grateful for him. gale mcgovern, the president of the national red cross who has contributed mightily to the
rebuilding efforts here. most of all to the family and friends of all those who have been lost and all those who have been affected. today we gather to celebrate the lives of those we've lost to the storm here in joplin and across the midwest, to keep in our prayers those still missing, to mourn with their families, to stand together during that time of pain and trial. and as reverend brown alluded to, the question that weighs on us at a time like this is why. why our town, why our home, why my son or husband or wife or sister or friend, why.
we do not have the capacity to answer. we can't know when a terrible storm will strike or where or the severity of the devastation that it may cause. we can't know why we're tested with the loss of a loved one, with the loss of a home where we've lived a lifetime. these things are beyond our power to control. but that does not mean we are powerless in the face of adversity. how we respond when the storm strikes is up to us. how we live in the aftermath of
tragedy and heartache, that's within our control. and it's in these moments through our actions that we often see the glimpse of what makes life worth living in the first place. in the last week, that's what joplin has not just taught missouri, not just taught america, but has taught the world. i was overseas in the aftermath of the storm, and you had world leaders coming up to me saying, let the people of joplin know we are with them. we're thinking about them. we love them. [ applause ] because the world saw how joplin
respond responded. a university turns itself into a makeshift hospital. [ applause ] some of you used your pickup trucks as ambulances, carrying the injured on doors that served as stretchers. your restaurants have rushed food to people in need. businesses have filled trucks with donations. you've waited in line for hours to donate blood to people you know, but also to people you've never met. and in all this, you have lived the words of scripture. we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. we are perplexed but not in
despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed. as the governor said, you have shown the world what it means to love thy neighbor. you banded together. you've come to each others' aid. you've demonstrate ad a simple truth that amid heartbreak and tragedy, no one is a stranger. everybody is a brother. everybody is a sister. we can all love one another. [ applause ] as you move forward in the days ahead, i know that rebuilding what you've lost won't be easy. i just walked through some of the neighborhoods that have been affected, and you look out at the landscape, and there have to
be moments where you just say where to begin, how to start. there are going to be moments where after the shock has worn off, you feel alone. but there's no doubt in my mind what the people of this community can do. there's no doubt in my mind that joplin will rebuild. and as president i can promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way. [ applause ] we will be with you ever step of the way. we're not going anywhere! the cameras may leave! the spotlight may shift! but we will be with you every
step of the way until joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet! we're not going anywhere! [ applause ] that is not just my promise. that's america's promise. it's a promise i make here in joplin. it's a promise i made down in tuscaloosa or in any of the communities that have been hit by these devastating storms over the last few weeks. now, there have been countless acts of kindness and selflessness in recent days. we've already heard the record of some of that. but perhaps none are as inspiring as what took place
when the storm was bearing down on joplin, threatening an entire community with utter destruction, and in the face of winds that showed no mercy, no regard for human life, that did not discriminate by race or faith or background, it was ordinary people swiftly tested who said i'm willing to die right now so that someone else might live, the husband who threw himself over his wife as their house came apart around them, the mother who shielded her young son, it was dean wells, a husband and father who loved to sing and whistle in his church choir. dean was working a shift at the home depot, managing the electrical department when the siren rang out.
he sprang into action, moving people to safety. over and over again he went back for others until a wall came down on top of him. in the end, most of the building was destroyed. but not where dean had directed his there was a young man named christopher lucas who was 26 years old. father of two daughters, third daughter on the way. just like any other night, christopher was doing his job as manager on duty at pizza hut. and then he heard the storm coming. it was then when this former sa sailor quickly ushered everybody into the walk-in freezer. the only problem was the freezer door wouldn't stay closed from the inside. so as the tornado bore down on
this small storefront christopher left the freezer to find a rope or a cord or anything to hold the door shut. he made it back just in time. tying a piece of bungee cord to the handle outside, wrapping the other end around his arm, holding the door closed with all his might. and christopher held it as long as he could. until he was pulled away by the incredible force of the storm. he died saving more than a dozen people in that freezer. [ applause ] you see, there are heroes all around us all the time.
they walk by us on the sidewalk. they sit next to us in class. they pass us in the aisle wearing an orange apron. they come to our table at a restaurant and ask us what we would like to order. just as we can't know why tragedy strikes in the first place, we may never fully understand where these men and women find the courage and strength to do what they did. what we do know is that in a split second moment where there's little time for internal reflection or debate, the actions of these individuals were driven by love. love for a family member, love for a friend. or just love for a fellow human being. that's good to know.
in a world that can be cruel and selfish, it's this knowledge, the knowledge that we are inclined to love one another, that we are inclined to do good, to be good that causes us to take heart. we see with fresh eyes what's precious and so fragile and so important to us. we put aside our petty grievances and our minor disagreements. we see ourselves in the hopes and hardships of others. and in the stories that people like dean and people like christopher, we remember that each of us contains reserves of
resolve and compassion. there are heroes all around us all the time. and so in the wake of this tragedy, let us live up to their example. to make each day count to live with a sense of mutual regard, to live with that same compassion that they demonstrated in their final hours. we are called by them to do everything we can to be worthy of the chance that we have been given to carry on. i understand that at a memorial yesterday for dean, his wife decided to play a recording of dean whistling a song he loved.
"amazing grace." the lyrics are a fitting tribute to what joplin has been through. through many dangers, toils and snares, i have already come. tis grace that brought me safe this far and grace will lead me home. [ applause ] yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail and mortal life shall cease, i shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace. may those we have lost know peace. may grace guide the people of
i had been told that you were walking our streets. i had been told of your genuine interest and your compassion on behalf of just one of the citizens, and yet on behalf of a very large crowd, thank you, sir. [ applause ] all of us that had friends who wanted to stand beside us this week. some could do so in person. others mailed us their hearts and asked to borrow from whatever we needed for those letters and notes. one such friend wrote me the following: "randy, the storm
did much damage. i can't imagine. but, randy, there are limits to its power. a tornado cannot and will not destroy the sovereignty of god. it cannot destroy the word of god, the church of god, the plan of god, the promises of god, the justice of god, the love of got. it shall not destroy the grace of god, and it certainly shall not destroy the son of god. and he is right. [ applause ] as i wrap up the remarks that have been made so far today, i want to go back to what was mentioned earlier. this time it's from paul. in the book of phillippians, peace is the discovery of the
presence of a personal god. the same christ who we wapt at tomb of his friend weep overs the painful expenses we have in this fallen world. he is the god who made us in his image, who made us to be his shadow, who tore off a part of himself to make us, and yet losing nothing in the whole. he is the greater light and we are the lesser, but never be confused. and yet he is the god who shockingly says that he has inscribed our names on the palm of his hands. he is that one who has promised his presence and his faithfulness. my prayer on behalf of my friends, my prayer is this. may you know him and may you know his peace as we rebuild not only our homes but rebuild our lives.