Plaza Towers victims are remembered on Christmas
For families across Moore, Christmas isn't the same this year. Not only for those who lost loved ones in the May 20th tornado, but for those who still live in amongst the destruction.
None of the children killed in Plaza Towers Elementary were forgotten this Christmas. Small trees and Christmas decorations are on every memorial cross. Moore is a city still in mourning, but it's a city that can still celebrate peace and joy.
"The ones that didn't make it he [God] took them to Heaven. He wanted them there with him," said Moore resident Kimberly Flanigan. Flanigan lives right down the street from the school.
"You will always forever be in my heart. Love you always, Dad," John Desbiens read from one of the memorial crosses at Plaza Towers.
Word of love, like those written on the memorials, mean so much more this Christmas. Hearts, lives and homes were broken this year. But if you look around Moore now, there are signs of hope and compassion everywhere.
"They brought these little stars and put them on people's houses and stuff. Just a sign of comfort," Flanigan said. The decorated, wooden stars she speaks of can be found all over the Plaza Towers neighborhood. Written on the stars are inspirational words, and phrases.
At the memorial, Jess Guess and his family stopped by to pay their respects on Christmas.
"We just came to show our respects. They didn't get to celebrate Christmas this year. So we figured we'd come out here and give them a few presents," said Guess.
Guess wanted his young daughter to understand what a giving spirit truly is, so she left some of her toys underneath the children's memorial crosses.
John Desbiens and the company he works for are supplying the concrete for Plaza Towers new foundation and safe room.
"They didn't get a Christmas, so the least we can do is come out and say we haven't forgotten," Desbiens said. He brought his wife to the memorial to show her what happened.
Neither the Desbiens nor Guess and his family lost loved ones on May 19th, but they all say they still felt the impact. They felt it enough to come remember the victims on Christmas.
"Christmas is a day for kids, and I think the kids need to be remembered," said Desbiens' wife.
It's also a day where good triumphs and hearts are opened wide. Peace and love can't be ignored even in the midst of heartache.
"The good is... just look around. Everybody's choosing to stay and battle it out and re-grow no matter if they had their entire lives devastated," said Desbiens.