Plaza Towers victims: A parent remembers
MOORE, Okla. (KOKH) —
If you ever got to watch Sydney Angle play ball, there's a good chance you would have seen her singing and dancing while on the field.
"It didn't matter whether it was in school or softball or at home. She wanted to be having fun. And she did," said her mother, Nicole Angle. "And she loved life."
Sydney was the baby of the family, the youngest of three children.
"She would've just turned 14."
Sydney was among seven children killed inside Plaza Towers Elementary five years ago, as a third grade classroom crumbled in an EF5 tornado.
"Some days it's, 'Has it really been five years?'" said Angle. "But then when I count the days the years without her, the time seems like forever."
What hasn't passed is the anger that Angle and other parents felt over moments right after the storm. Moments of uncertainty and chaos. Unsure whether their children were still alive.
"I think about how many hours we didn't know and how many hours we went by without any answers."
After three years of litigation, Moore Public Schools settled with those families, paying them $14,000 dollars each. Angle can't talk about settlement, but does say she's pleased with the memorial now in front of the new Plaza Towers.
We asked Angle how she's different now as a mother. "I don't take anything for granted," she said.
"One of the hardest things was the silence," she said, reflecting on how her small home had always been filled with the sounds of three children, laughing, arguing, sometimes yelling. She said, "It's one thing I think so many parents take for granted is the background noise."
While Sydney is gone, her story is not yet finished. An annual softball tournament in memory of the little girl who dreamed of being a pitcher has helped award 26 scholarships so far.
It's an unexpected joy in Angle's life now. Finding joy again took time.
"I was just outright angry with God, because I felt like he stole from me," said Angle.
Her faith though, never wavered, eventually bringing her new understanding.
"He borrowed me an amazing little girl for nine years," Angle said. "It could've been less. And it could've been more. But He let me have her for nine years. There was just a day when I knew it was time to stop being angry," she said. "And I had to unpack a few boxes to find the Bible I had buried,"
Five years after tragedy, a family still grieves. But in Sydney's story, they say is a lesson to all of us to live a little more like Syd did.
"How often do people play? And dance? And sing? And put that much love into everything?" asked Angle. "She lived life the way we're supposed to."
Learn more about the Sydney Angle Memorial Foundation website here --