But exactly one year later, at 6:28 p.m. Friday, the scene was much different.
A crowd of more than 100 people stood shoulder to shoulder in a small garden at First Baptist Church of Williams for the first Calhoun County event to mark the anniversary of the April 27 tornado and to remember the two church members who were lost that day.
"It's hard to believe that it has been a year ago this afternoon that the storm came though this part of the county," said Wendell McGinnis, a deacon, to the crowd. "I don't know that something like this will ever be forgotten."
Two bricks, one to honor Bill and Linda Lipscomb and another to honor the volunteers and the other victims, were placed in the garden. Not far away a lone maple tree was planted to memorialize the Lipscombs, church members who were killed on April 27.
Mike Oliver, the church's former pastor, guided the congregation during the early days after the storm. From the heart of the garden Friday he read from the Book of Ecclesiastes. He spoke of pain, of hope and of renewal.
"There are a lot of reasons to grieve but there are also reasons to hope," Oliver said. "God and Jesus love us and have prepared a place for us to go when the rhythm of the seasons of our lives ends."
Near the back of the garden, one young couple stood, their eyes cast down at the pavement in a long stare. Around them, others stood without expression in Friday work clothes. Some fought tears.
Young children batted at their siblings, distracting their parents. A baby not yet born a year ago rested in the arms of its mother.
The Lipscombs' three adult sons, their three daughters-in-law and their grandchildren stood in the center of the garden near a statue of Christ as the pastor's words were amplified through speakers. The Lipscombs' sons said they are holding onto hope as they have done since April 27.
"We get tears in our eyes, but we know here where they're at," Chad Lipscomb said.
Contact staff writer Laura Johnson:256-235-3544. On Twitter@ LJohnson_Star.