May 3rd – 11 Years after the F5 Tornado and Still BitterToday is May 3rd, and I sit here fuming.
Today is the 11 year anniversary of the F5 tornado that ripped its way through central Oklahoma, taking a number of precious lives with it.
I sit here fuming because I am angry with the general media right now. I click news links, I watch videos, I read articles…They all fuel my anger even more.
Grady County, people. Remember us!
May 3rd didn’t just touch Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties. This tornado didn’t only affect Moore and Midwest/Del City.
Do any of you even know about Bridge Creek? There’s a website devoted to May 3rd. It shows you pictures, news articles, videos of survivors telling their stories, maps that show the tornado’s path…. But where is Bridge Creek? We’re not listed on the map. The drop down says “Show damage in: Moore, Del City, Tanger Mall” but not Bridge Creek.
Why does no one take the time to remember us? I’m angry because this seems a grave error on the part of the general populace. “Remember those who were affected by this tragedy.” ”Pray for those who were affected by May 3rd.” This is what everyone says… but the only place we’re represented on that website is here: “Those Who Died”
You’ll notice there were many more lives taken from Bridge Creek than Moore. I’m immensely glad that those Creekers, both of my neighbors included, are shown a bit of remembrance at least in this little place. But that only quells my anger slightly.
I find myself burning with emotion to think that no one cares about the little po-dunk town of Bridge Creek. The big city is all that really matters. The cost of damage was higher there because it was an urban area, so the smaller rural areas don’t matter.
This may not be the truth of it but that’s how it feels.
I have lived for 11 years with a heated bitterness in my heart. I have nothing against those from Moore, and I’m not trying to say they didn’t suffer the same. I don’t want to belittle their experiences or demean them in anyway. But I do feel a bit of injustice each year. 11 years and the news always talks about Moore and only Moore.
How many people died in Moore? How many people found themselves running down a gravel road with a tornado fast on their heels as they tried to find shelter? How many people watched as their little brother was blown further down the street because he wasn’t quite strong enough to run against the wind – who had to have his big brother grab him and pull him back to safety?
How many people in Moore felt the dirt and gravel pelting their skin as they crawled into a storm drain beneath a road, praying that they wouldn’t be sucked out the end in the next few seconds when the tornado finally went over?
I know the damage in Moore was terrible. I don’t try to ignore that fact. I understand that houses were completely destroyed. I would have no reason not to believe that. Not after what I saw.
But I’m still angry. In Moore, didn’t you have rooms and walls still standing in places? Weren’t you able to find and salvage more possessions? Maybe you didn’t, and maybe you couldn’t. Maybe I generalize out of irrationality. My possessions were gone. They weren’t buried beneath rubble for me to retrieve. My room broke off the house and was carried away, never to be seen again. My entire life’s worth of belongings was gone that quick. Hell, maybe you found my things in Moore because they were not in Bridge Creek anymore.
Granted, I will admit, the creek caught a few of my family’s things and we were able to fish through the water and mud to retrieve a few things: my older brother’s entire comic book collection, a good number of dresses from my mother’s closet, some of my little brother’s toys. And I found two blankets from my bed, having been driven through the trunk of a tree like a nail by a hammer.
But none of this matters.
I simply ask that you remember Grady County and all the people in Bridge Creek. I ask that you remember the neighbors we lost. I ask that you pray for those of us who were asked by our wonderful media, “Do you have survivor’s guilt? Why do you think you lived when others didn’t?” And I hope that if you’re a reporter, you take a moment before the next tragedy and consider what kind of impact a question like that can have on a 13 year old girl.
I remember the cries of people searching for others. I remember holding a child who had just had his mother ripped out of his arms. I still remember how hard it was to keep myself from crying so he wouldn’t be any more scared than he already was. I saw neighbors walking around covered in mud and blood, dazed looks on their faces.
And I remember being too afraid to go into the debris for fear I might find a body.
Where is the love and support for Bridge Creek? When will the news remember that we were just as harshly affected as Moore? When will the media realize that we’re a part of this state as well?
I offer my prays to those in Moore. When will the news remind them about us, so they can return the favor?
Call me cold and bitter. Call me selfish and angry. It’s probably all true.
But at least spare a moment on this day for those of us that the rest of the state seem to have forgotten about.