Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, who you were with a year ago today? I do. This day will forever be etched in my mind.
The terror and fear I felt will never be forgotten. Huddling in the basement of my parent’s home, praying, hearing my father pray and knowing it was serious and not just another storm that would just blow over us. Listening on the radio as reports of neighborhoods, apartments and businesses had been destroyed.
The happiness I felt when all my loved ones were accounted for. The shame I felt for being so happy for the safety of my family and friends when so many others had lost people they loved.
The days and weeks immediately after the storm showed me a lot of things. I got to see my town come together in a crisis. People from all over came to help strangers in need. Unfortunately, I also got to see terrible things. I got a small glimpse into what it might be like to live in a war stricken place. Army trucks and soldiers filed in. Driving down the street seeing soldiers with guns everywhere, looters, curfews.
For a few weeks I wasn’t sure if my hometown would ever be “normal” again.
A year later, it is not “normal” again. I still get sad driving by open fields where homes and businesses use to be but things are beginning to be rebuilt.
I didn’t take a camera but a couple of people I was with took the pictures below on April 28, 2011.
These are pictures of the house my dad grew up in were my nephew was living at the time.
“And I’ll praise You in this storm And I will lift my hands For You are who You are No matter where I am And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand You never left my side And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm”
– Casting Crowns
“But as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away”
– Casting Crowns
“And tomorrow if the rain shall come we will not fear. We will not run from anything because we are standing strong, we are standing tall. We will not run we will not fall away from you because we love you.” – John Hayes
To remember the victims and honor the survivors, a historical marker was dedicated to the April 2011 tornado outbreak. The monument sits in downtown Tuscaloosa.
Text from the marker:
City of Tuscaloosa April 2011 Tornado Outbreak
In April 2011, one of the most devastating tornado outbreaks in the history of Alabama left an unprecedented path of destruction through the City of Tuscaloosa.
On the street corners and in the neighborhoods, thousands of citizens transformed into heroes by aiding the injured, searching for the missing, clearing debris, and volunteering from dawn to dusk. Called by circumstance, burdened by tragedy, yet inspired by a confident hope, the fury of Mother Nature was met by the best of humanity.
How we fought back, how we refused to quit and how we united will ensure that we never forget our victims, our survivors and our heroes.
For a list of those who were killed on April 27, 2011 go to Al.com.