Greensburg, past and present, turned out for the special memorial service Thursday night at the Big Well Park. The event both recognized progress in the community since the tornado happened and honored the thirteen persons who lost their lives in the tornado, including a Pratt and Stafford county resident. In other words, it was a [...]

Greensburg, past and present, turned out for the special memorial service Thursday night at the Big Well Park. The event both recognized progress in the community since the tornado happened and honored the thirteen persons who lost their lives in the tornado, including a Pratt and Stafford county resident.
In other words, it was a bittersweet event.
Fortunately, the weather cooperated for the memorial service, with little wind and no clouds. Event organizers couldn't have ordered a much better evening, if they had tried.
Sitting and listening to the dignitaries who spoke (including Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson, Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, and former state treasurer and state representative Dennis McKinney), with the Big Well Museum as a backdrop, you couldn't help but reflect upon how different this Greensburg was from the one that existed before 5/4/07. The eyes of the world were upon Greensburg again, as the lieutenant governor and multiple news media vehicles in town reminded those attending.
While today's Greensburg is one still healing from the deep wounds of a decade earlier, it is also a town that has redefined itself and pressed onward. It is a community which is much larger than its reduced population, as pieces of its heart are yet found in Pratt, Coldwater, Kinsley, Mullinville, and Haviland, in fact anywhere its native sons and daughters were forced to move when the tornado left them with no other options.
The names of those who didn't make it out of town, read several times over the course of the evening, put a real face on just what happened here. The release of 13 angel-winged balloons near the end of the ceremony was a fitting, if sad, tribute to those who died in the tornado.
Another highlight of the evening, for me, was when local residents sang the Christian song, 'Holy ground,' whose lyrics included the words, 'We are standing on Holy Ground / And I know that there are angels all around.' That was definitely my perspective, and still is, when I visit certain locations in Greensburg today and am reminded of the lives that were spared that night by our Lord and Savior.
Greensburg, we love you and wish only the best for you as you continue to stand in the face of adversity, moving forward while recognizing the scars of the past.