When I was allowed to move off base in 2004, I was ecstatic. I had just made E-4 and celebrated the third anniversary of entering Active Duty. I had a wide variety of options on where to stay. I opted for an apartment a couple miles north of the base. If I had to go to base for whatever reason, it would not take long for me to get there. With my job being unpredictable at times, this was a big plus. Also, it made driving in the inclement weather a bit less hazardous, since I did not have as far to go.
Moore, Oklahoma is just south of Oklahoma City. When I was considering where to move off base, Moore was highly recommended because of all the new buildings and such there. Well, what they did not necessarily mention, but I was aware of, was that a massive tornado had gone through that area five years (May 3, 1999) before and caused a lot of damage. The reason Moore was nice and new is because they had to rebuild. I felt a bit superstitious about living in an area that had suffered a direct hit.
Today, it was really hard to concentrate at work after I learned of the tornado that tore through there, killing a number of people, including some children who were at school when the tornado hit. I still have a number of friends, and some extended family members, who live in that area and felt a sense of dread. So far, I have heard good news. My friends are safe. One was not sure whether or not his house survived the tornado, meaning he was not near home when the tornado roared through the area, but he was safe. That is what mattered to me.
My prayers go out to those who were not as fortunate. To those who have lost a loved one, to those who do not know where their loved one is, and to those who are now picking up the pieces left behind.