These are stories of pain and loss, rebuilding and restoration, tears and hugs, precious moments and cherished memories. The victims — Ruby Douthitt, Arvella Jones and Jim Romaine, Bill and Linda Lipscomb, Mike and Tina Forrest, Spencer Motes, and Angel Stillwell — left behind loved ones who, one year later, are still wrestling with loss. The survivors shared with Star reporters Tim Lockette and Cameron Steele how the departed touched their lives. Each noted how they miss the little things — the regular phone calls, a Sunday night dinner, work in the garden, the pleasant smell of Mamaw’s house, the shy schoolgirl who kept to herself on the playground, the example of hard work, the fishing trips and so on. They miss the things that we all too often take for granted.
Across the state today, Alabamians will remember the deaths of 253 souls lost one year ago today. We will mark the progress in rebuilding since that day, as well as the work that remains. We will celebrate the people who suffered and yet are still standing a year later. We will be reminded that storms such as these can arise at any time, and vigilance and preparation is the key to survival.
We can be proud of Alabama’s generosity; the storms brought out the best in the state as countless men and women rolled up their sleeves and set about helping their neighbors once the clouds departed. We will be humbled of those who suffered in these storms. We will stand in awe at the resilience of a people who can withstand nature’s fury and come back stronger than ever.