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The Star’s editorial | A Joplin memorial: We must never forget


It seems like much longer, but only a month ago Joplin was ripped apart by the tornado.

It was one of the most deadly and devastating storms in Missouri history. As a state, we will never, and should never, forget what a few minutes and six miles on the ground, meant to us. We should never forget the more than 150 people who died. We should never forget the flattened homes and twisted autos.

And we should never forget that even a month after intense suffering, Joplin already is picking itself up and getting about the business of rebuilding what was lost — livelihoods, peace of mind, homes and businesses.

It is still very soon after a true tragedy, but it is not too soon to begin thinking about the need for some sort of public memorial as a testament to the human will to prevail against the nastiest blows of nature.

Joplin of course would be the fitting site. And, we would suggest, somehow incorporating pieces of the devastation — the twisted helicopter, a dented car, bits of the storm debris — also would be appropriate. Not to be macabre, but to illustrate what was overcome.

Beyond any specific idea, though, we know that Missouri has a great many talented artists. Now is the time to tap their ideas and imaginations on how best to remember those horrific moments, and remind future generations that Missouri rebuilds and soldiers on.

As readers saw in The Star’s Sunday article, “Condition Gray,” the worst of moments brought out the best in many people.

While the Joplin tornado is a horribly painful memory for all, it is also an important one.

So, to our legislature, Gov. Jay Nixon and the people of Missouri, we’d argue that now is the time to set about planning an appropriate Joplin memorial.

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