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Heartbreak, healing still shape lives in Joplin

Posted at 10:22 PM, May 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 16:49:27-04

Hundreds of people gathered in Cunningham Park Sunday evening to remember the people who died in the tornado that tore through Joplin May 22, 2011.

Bethany Newsome and Michelle Hare read the 161 names, both of them still grieving their own losses.

“My husband and I got in the bathroom when it was coming through. He covered me, and unfortunately he got hit. But he saved me," Newsome said through tears.

"I lost my son. He was 16. His name was Lance Hare," mother Michelle Hare said. “Some days it feels like it has been 20 years. You wait to see that face again.”

Leaders, volunteers, residents and first responders attended the ceremony and marked the moment that changed them.

In the area surrounding Cunningham Park, there are dozens of newly built homes. Young, recently planted trees surround them on the park grounds. Still, the heartache is heavy.

"It can be bittersweet." Newsome said. "I know that everybody wants to keep remembering the people who couldn't be here today, but it hurts, too."

As the residents of Joplin reflect, they keep holding each other up.

Just as they have every single day since the disaster.

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Lexi Sutter can be reached at lexi.sutter@kshb.com.

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