The horror of Oklahoma unfolded on live television Monday afternoon. For nearly an hour, a 1.3-mile-wide tornado raked across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and left the suburb of Moore littered in a destructive confetti of wood, bricks, glass and motor vehicles. Two schools were obliterated. A hospital was destroyed. Initial reports of nearly 100 killed were lowered to at least 24. With winds of up to 210 miles per hour, it is a miracle the death toll was not higher.

We are not strangers to the awesome power of Mother Nature. In this case, she visited destruction on the same town following nearly the same path with the same fury 14 years earlier. Nor are we strangers to the resilience of the people who survive her fury. Their stories of survival touch us. Their acts of heroism in helping others move us. And their determination to rebuild and to get back to normal inspire us. It taps into who we are as Americans.

Oklahoma tornado flag-raising
Jim Stubblefield of Norman, Okla., raises a tattered flag he found while helping his sister salvage items from her tornado-ravaged home on Tuesday in Moore, Okla. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

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