Today marks the ten anniversary of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, spawning 66 tornadoes killing 48 people and injuring many others. The “big one” blew up along I-44 from Chickasha, through open country, smashing the community of Bridge Creek, through some more open country, over a river, and then entered the Oklahoma City Metro area cutting a wide path of destruction through the heavily populated areas of Moore, Del City, a corner of Tinker AFB, and finally petering out halfway through Midwest City. This F5 tornado, over a mile wide for much of its path, reached a record wind speed of 316 mph.
Much has changed in these past ten years. The visible scars on land have been mostly healed. Only a keen observer would note the subtle change in the style of newer homes over older ones while driving through neighborhoods in Moore and Del City. The hidden scars are still there, and only become visible when the tornado sirens suddenly blare.
On a personal note, much has changed in the last ten years. My wife graduated from college with her second degree after a short career in the air force. I had a second open heart surgery, this time to replace the aortic valve. My 3rd and 4th children were born. My 1st child graduated high school and is about to graduate college in two weeks. The 2nd child is about to learn to drive. Two major bouts of depression, a change in high schools for teaching, a new house, a dog, two cats, cell phones, iPod. My beard has turned gray, the bald spot has grown and the hair thinned out a little. Blessed with 20-20 vision, my eyes are beginning to weaken. Can’t forget the 25-pound weight gain. And most important of all, saying “yes” to faith and Jesus and the Church.
“Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same.”