May 3, 2008

Greensburg tornado

'Green'ing of Spring
Greensburg, Kansas was leveled a year ago tomorow by one of the strongest tornadoes on record. A monster that was nearly a mile wide leveled ~95% of the town of 1500 people leaving few standing buildings.

Greensburg's claim to fame was its location near one of the best meteorite sites in the world and also the largest hand dug well. The town now has a new claim to fame, a green community in which the world can look up to in the ever changing world of global climate change and scarce resources. Locals have been encouraged to build green and purchase energy saving appliances and to use alternative energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. Some people, and I feel their pain, want things to get rebuilt as fast as possible so some semblance of a life can begin.

The Early Show has been in Greensburg this week documenting the the advances the town has made from that devastating night a year ago. They have had the National Champion KU Jayhawks on the show, and have had several surprises for the town. I applaud the show for documenting all facets of life and doing it in a positive manner. They really have adopted the town and I hope will continue to come back and document the progress the town has made. One such progress though may be mired in controversy...Graduation

Some people may have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church and its inflaming pastor Fred Phelps. The church is known for protesting at soldiers funerals and is headquartered in Topeka, Kansas. It has been announced that Phelps plans to protest the arrival of President Bush, who is giving the commencement speech to the graduating class of Greensburg High School. Accourding to the Kiowa County Signal, "The group is best known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers in line with a belief that God has been using the war in Iraq to kill American military personnel to show contempt for a nation and military that has allegedly become overly accommodating to and sympathetic of gay/lesbian concerns." This, by all accounts of the definition is a radically religious group no different of the Taliban. Extreme assertion, yes, but the stuff that this group chants at a fallen soldiers funeral is a shame and they themselves should be made to serve on the front lines.

To protest in the town on a day of celebration, after all that it has gone through, shows how low this group really is. Its a shame on the state as a hole and the Christian faith to have these "righteous" people doing such horribly despicable things. Congrats to those who have overcome the adversity before them and I commend the graduating class for pulling through in times of adversity. May the future be bright, happy, and exciting as you prepare for your next chapter in your life!

The top picture is of Greensburg (taken via satellite) prior to the May 4th tornado. The middle picture is of the tornado that struck Greensburg, at its widest it was a mile wide. The last picture is a of Greensburg after the tornado (taken via satellite) showing the mass destruction.

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