Tornado anniversary on Nov. 17 a time to reflect and give thanks

The Thanksgiving holiday isn’t until 10 days later, but gratitude will surely be a common theme of the many observances on Nov. 17 marking the first anniversary of the tornadoes that struck central Illinois, devastating communities including Washington and Gifford.

There will be gratitude to God for lives spared — interrupted certainly, and made more challenging, but anyone who saw the neighborhoods the hours and days after the twisters would surely have guessed the loss of life would have been high.

There will be expressions of gratitude for countless volunteers, locally and around the nation, who stepped in to help throughout the past 12 months in myriad ways.

There will be thanks given to the churches, agencies, and other organizations that played a role in personal and community recoveries.
We join in the chorus of gratitude.

But we offer special thanks for the way many of those most affected by the tragedies modeled for the rest of us virtues ranging from patience to courage to hope to even joy as they rebuilt their homes and lives.

On the one-week anniversary of the tornado, Father Stephen Willard told members of St. Patrick Parish in Washington as they gathered for Mass that “we’ll triumph through our sorrows” and “prove to the world that we are strong in Christ Jesus.”

And that’s just what they, and so many others, have done.

For that and so much more, we give thanks. Watch for coverage of the anniversary in our next issue. — Thomas J. Dermody

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