The anniversary ceremony event included speeches from city officials and leaders of volunteer organizations. Along with musical performances by artists from all over the country. A new plaque was added to the park with the names of the 161 people who lost their lives. Six time capsules were buried, filled with keepsakes from Joplin's recovery. They will be opened on the 50th anniversary of the tornado.
Eight-year-old Callieya Thompson participated in the unity walk and the memorial ceremony. She says it is amazing to see Joplin's progress, including watching her home being rebuilt. At the ceremony, City Manager Mark Rohr announced two-thirds of 7,500 homes damaged by the storm have received permits to rebuild or repair. Many of the residents I spoke with say they hope this progressive momentum continues for the city.