At memorial for tornado victims, Joplin vows to heal, rebuild
President Barack Obama on Sunday spoke at a service for the victims of last week's tornado that killed at least 142 people in Joplin, Missouri.
May 29th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

At memorial for tornado victims, Joplin vows to heal, rebuild

Those who have survived a devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, should do their utmost to live up to the example set by those who died while helping others escape the storm, President Barack Obama said Sunday at a memorial service for the victims.

Obama spoke about two of the heroes from the twister, which barreled into Joplin packing 200-mph winds a week ago Sunday.

One of them, Dean Wells, directed his co-workers and customers at Home Depot to safety, returning again and again for more people until a wall of the store fell on top of him, the president said.

And Christopher Lucas, 26, a manager at a Pizza Hut, herded employees and customers into a walk-in freezer, finding a bungee cord to hold the door shut from the inside and wrapping the other end around his arm. Lucas held on as long as he could, Obama told the crowd Sunday, "until he was pulled away by the incredible force of the storm. He died saving more than a dozen people in that freezer.

"There are heroes around us all the time," the president said. "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 this chance we've been given to carry on."

The tornado swept a 13-mile path, the National Weather Service said Sunday, raising its earlier estimate of six miles.

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    Here goes Barack Obama with his alligator tears again. If he is so compassionate,then why doesn't he stop the obscene carnage overseas by grounding those ungodly drones and trying to get some kind of peace talks going between Hamid Karzai and the Taliban? I wish he would!!!

    May 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Thank you,RUFFNUTT,I couldn't have said it better. If only Obama had a soul like I wish he did, this country wouldn't be at war today!

      May 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy

      Can't you refrain from your Obama-bashing, trolling with someone else's name, for just one day, fakey?
      People are mourning here.

      Once again, my condolences to the people of Joplin, MO.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Squidword

      Good posting, banasy, Thank you! I couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!!!

      May 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimmy

    Through the rubble springs hope. And faith. Erring reason's spite.

    May 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy

      Hear, hear!!

      May 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Big Game James

    CNN, please reclaim your blog. The inmates are running the asylum!

    May 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    @Big Game James:

    I am not one of the lunatics. I am someone just like you, a person who wants the express an opinion without my name being hijacked.

    May 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sandyk

    With all of the bad that has happened to these people and their families I pray for them to have peace and strength to rebuild.

    May 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    We will be hearing about many unsung heros of Joplin in the coming days; many heroic acts and random acts of kindness will be brought to light.

    President Obama's words brought comfort to the people of Joplin; we, as a Nation, should pull together and help out all we can in the wake of the horrific events of Alabama and Missouri.

    Tomorrow being Memorial Day, let us not forget those who have perished, and be glad that we, ourselves, are here to greet another day. So many aren't.

    May 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hadabadday

    Wow banasy...that was beautiful...i could not have stated it any better myself...my prayers are with all who have sufferd through this horrific event...

    May 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael A.

    I do not agree with everything that Pres. Obama espouses. But he inherited most of what he is dealing with and I think that his trip abroad was extremely successful.

    May 29, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mad Hatter

    He gets an E for effort. He's trying hard to clean up bush's mess.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    Wow. Did this thread's comment section shrink? Cool.

    May 30, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jay Hulstine

    My son was amazing after the apartment clubhouse we were in was directly hit. Ty saved me and many others while injured himself.

    http://www.kspr.com/news/local/kspr-joplin-mo-teenage-son-saves-his-fathers-life-after-tornado-20110528,0,5378970.story

    May 30, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Troywil

    The though of losing everything in this world that you own is somthing i cant wrap my mind around. My thoughts an prays go out the folks in Joplin...Please help Mr. Obama

    May 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kristin Dickerson

    In response to CNN reporter Lindy Hall's story on Betty, the dog rescued in Joplin Thursday, here's video of Betty's rescue:
    http://www.ktul.com/video?clipId=5900548&topVideoCatNo=189715&autoStart=true

    May 30, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. tiffany

    Shut up trolls. I wonder how u trolls would act if it happened to you

    May 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MasterVen

    you people are lame for bringing up crap other than what this post was about! God bless those families!
    -Tulsa, OK

    May 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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