Derick Brock, right, from Mercy Chefs helps a man fold a flag he found in the debris after the May 2013 tornado. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)
OKLAHOMA CITY — This is a state that knows what it’s like to recover from a disaster.
From the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, to the destruction wreaked by two of the largest tornadoes ever recorded tearing through its suburbs, there has been a thread running through the tragedies: Oklahomans pull together.
Revisiting the areas most devastated by the deadly Moore tornado in 2013, it’s clear rubble is not the only thing that’s lingered. At the busy intersection of Telephone Road and Southwest Fourth Street in Moore, signs of rebuilding are slowly starting to appear. The tornado leveled part of the neighborhood and a gas station, ripped through a medical complex and crumpled cars from the nearby highway, tossing them in another direction.
More than a year later, slabs of concrete are all that remain of large buildings. Wreaths and crosses still dot the ground where some didn’t survive. But new shops and buildings have opened, presenting physical evidence of Oklahomans’ resilience in times of disaster.
The sense of community here goes far beyond the usual camaraderie in which any state could express pride. The Oklahoma congressional delegation likes to express that pride, and some have given the deep bonds within the community a name.
“Oklahoma has a respect for our neighbors,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin told CQ Roll Call in an interview. “That’s the Oklahoma standard.”