Okla. students get standing ovation at memorial service - KMOV.com

Okla. students get standing ovation at memorial service

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(CBS) -- Survivors of the deadly tornado that ripped through suburban Oklahoma City last week have turned to their faith as they go through grief and the recovery process.

About 2,000 people attended an evening memorial service at First Baptist Church in hard-hit Moore to honor the 24 people killed in the 200-mph tornado that ripped through last week. Some seats were reserved for those who lost loved ones and for the teachers and students of two elementary schools that were wrecked by last Monday’s tornado.

Some present held stuffed animals and flowers. Emotions ranged from streaming tears to joined and uplifted hands.

The interfaith service included prayers from a rabbi and an archbishop. Musical tributes came from area church choirs, Christian artist Dennis Jernigan and students from Briarwood Elementary.

Gov. Mary Fallin, who led the event, quoted Psalm 46 — “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

The student survivors from Briarwood Elementary received a standing ovation, CBS News’ Bigad Shaban reports. They performed “Jesus Loves Me”—the same song they sang as the storm approached.

Teacher Waynel Mayes had asked her children to play a singing game to drown out the sound of the tornado ripping through Moore.

“Debris started falling everywhere around us, and then it turned black. Then I don’t remember for a while—I just kept singing,” she said.

Hours earlier, President Obama visited the town.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words,” said Mr. Obama as he stood beside Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., and a host of local officials. “What we’re seeing here...gives you some sense of what the people of Moore and the people of Oklahoma have been dealing with over these last several days.”

“Fellow Americans are praying with you, they’re thinking about you, and they want to help,” the president said. “So I’m just a messenger here today, letting everyone here know that you’re not alone.”

The president toured Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven students died. He asked Americans to help Moore rebuild.

“There’s no doubt they’re going to bounce back,” President Obama said of the town’s residents. “But they need help.”

With entire neighborhoods completely wiped out, Shaban reports, some resident worry how long it will take to rebuild.

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