Storm survivors: Remembering Joplin's tornado

May 22, 2012 - 8:50 PM
Joplin Hospital Tornado

Freeman Hospital employees, from left, Nova Beyersdorfer, billing clerk, Dale Stiver, housekeeping manager, and Nancy Long, director of nursing for Freeman Neosho, release a lantern Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in memory of May 22, 2011 tornado victims, at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo. The tornado killed 161 people and destroyed one-third of the city, making it the nation's deadliest single tornado in six decades. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer)

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — From dawn to dusk, residents who lived through the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., last year are remembering the storm and celebrating their survival.

The storm that hit the city on the afternoon of May 22, 2011, wiped clean entire neighborhoods, devastated a hospital and flattened schools. A year later, the debris is cleared from the city of 50,000, and residents are continuing the work of rebuilding their community.

A year after the storm ripped through the city, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon opened the day of remembrances with a sunrise ceremony where balloons were lifted into the air. Officials broke ground on schools that will replace the ones that were destroyed. Survivors are walking the path of the storm. And at 5:41 p.m. — the precise moment the tornado struck — residents will fall silent to remember the 161 lives lost.

Associated Press Photographer Charlie Riedel and photographers from The Joplin Globe show, from sunrise to sunset, how the day of memorials unfolds in Joplin.