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1970 tornado memorial honors and educates as new gateway to downtown Lubbock

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Inside the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, a structure built in the aftermath of the May 11th, 1970 tornado, a ceremony was held Tuesday to dedicate the new Tornado Memorial.

“It was a lot of work by a lot of people and we’re really proud of what came together,” Dan Williams, Chairman of the Tornado Memorial Gateway Committee said.

That committee formed when the City of Lubbock designated four acres of land at Avenue Q and Glenna Goodacre Boulevard in April of 2017 for this project, a tribute to the 26 lives lost when the F5 tornado struck the heart of the city and to serve as a way to tell the story of heartache and resilience.

“It’s about honoring those folks that lost family, about those folks that that stood up and said ‘We’re not gonna let this beat us down.’,” Stephen Faulk, VP of MWM Architects said. “There’s a true West Texas spirit around here and not much can knock us down.”

Faulk designed the memorial based on Dr. Ted Fujita’s map of the two tornadoes that touched down in Lubbock that night. The 20-foot tall walls represent the path of the tornadoes and tells the story of the victims and the recovery.

“I think it says that there’s hope and promise out of tragedy,” Chief Operating Officer of the National Weather Service John Murphy said. “I couldn’t help but be emotional when I was out there reading the quotes from people who lived through the event but then also seeing the fortitude and the resiliency of that community, in taking that tragedy and building their community back stronger and looking for ways to improve so that we wouldn’t have the same kind of tragedy again.”

The Tornado Memorial Gateway Committee is still taking donations to fund maintenance of the memorial. You can donate by clicking here and noting ‘Tornado Memorial’ on the donation to the Community Foundation of West Texas.

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