One week after the tornado tore through Oklahoma, devastating the town of Moore, President Obama traveled to the area, visiting Plaza Towers Elementary School to offer a nation’s condolences, and a promise to help Moore rebuild.
As reported by the White House Online Blog, President Barack Obama delivered remarks alongside what remains of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and local officials stood with him.
The President thanked the Governor and the local mayor for their “quick, outstanding response”. Obama praised other local officials instrumental in helping to save lives and jumpstart the town’s recovery efforts.
President Obama highlighted the everyday acts of heroism in Moore, thanking first responders and volunteers for embodying the “Oklahoma Standard”.
“We’ve seen incredible outpourings of support from churches, from community groups who are helping folks begin to recover,” said Obama, “This area has known more than its share of heartbreak. But people here pride themselves on the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ –- what Governor Fallin has called, ‘Being able to work through disasters like this, and [to] come out stronger on the other side.’ And that’s what we’ve been seeing this week”.
President Obama said that his words are directed to all those involved, “From the forecasters who issued the warnings, to the first responders who dug through the rubble, to the teachers who shielded with their own bodies their students, Oklahomans have inspired us with their love and their courage and their fellowship.”
“Moore, like Joplin and New Jersey before it, will rebuild”, said President Obama, “The nation is standing by to help. When we say that we’ve got your back, I promise you, we keep our word. If you talk to folks in Alabama who have been affected over the last couple of years; you talk to the folks at Joplin, who I know have actually sent volunteers down here to Moore; if you talk to folks in New Jersey and New York, they’ll tell you that when we say we’re going to be there until you completely rebuild, we mean it.”
Obama told the story of a Bible found after another deadly tornado in Shawnee, Okla., the day before the one that hit Moore. It was reportedly discovered opened to the words, “A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest” (Isaiah 32:2).
“And it’s a reminder, as Scripture often is, that God has a plan, and it’s important, though, that we also recognize we’re an instrument of his will,” Obama said. “And we need to know that as fellow Americans, we’re going to be there as shelter from the storm for the people of Moore who have been impacted.”
The President closed by urging every American to step up and help the people of Oklahoma.
After visiting Plaza Towers, President Obama stopped by Moore Fire Department Station #1 to meet with first responders. The fire station has served as a command center throughout the disaster, first for search and rescue and now for survivor services.