OK victims bury the dead, praise the heroes
MOORE, O.K. (WHDH) -- Instead of days filled with barbeques for Memorial Day weekend, there will be more clean-up and more heartache for residents of Moore, Oklahoma.
Thursday, mourners buried the first of seven students, 9-year-old Antonia Candelaria, killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Those who survived applauded the bravery for the teachers and staff that protected the little lives.
“I’m never going to have anything or any words to repay her for what she did. You know she threw herself on my daughter to protect her,” said a grateful mother.
Students from Briarwood Elementary came together for a final assembly and a chance to get closure.
“It makes me glad to see me friends and that they’re alive and that I’m alive and that I’m okay,” said one student who survived the tornado.
President Obama will visit the tornado ravaged community Sunday. He will tour the 17-mile long path of destroyed homes and businesses and meet with first responders, who have provided everything from muscle to food for shell shocked survivors.
"They need help. They need hot meals. They need comfort. Barbeque is good comfort food,” said John Stinson of Operation BBQ.
Heavy rains and thunderstorms continued to slow cleanup efforts with more bad weather expected.
It will take months of hard and emotional work to rebuild what the tornado destroyed in 40 minutes.
It’s a task the residents of Moore say they’re dedicated to seeing through.
The number of destroyed homes has been drastically reduced from tens of thousands to just 1,200.