Memorial Included Emblazoned Wristbands

One of the incredible parts of the human spirit is the way it clings to others through challenges and sorrow. After the deadly tornadoes in Joplin, MO, this past summer, it seems natural that memorials would emerge. The most prominent is probably unexpected: love letters written on the remains of a foundation, a pile of rubble. While the city clings to this memorial in memory of those lost, it has also built a monument, resembling rubber wristbands s that volunteers wore in the city’s recovery.
This touching story is reported in the New York Times : “Every disaster has its memorials, from the organic to the carefully orchestrated. Several monuments have emerged here as the city labors to clear the remaining rubble of the tornado that cut through the heart of the community on May 22, killing 161 people. But as that effort nears completion, the community is questioning what to do with a memorial that is itself rubble.
Joplin Memorial of Wristbands
City leaders have been discussing whether to move the whole structure or perhaps simply take parts of the building for public display. “We think there is some value to preserving it,” said Mark Rohr, the city manager. “But we can’t let it sit there forever.”
In the meantime, the walls of the building, known here as the volunteer house, are peeling under the assault of sun and rain and wind. Like a love letter slowly torn to pieces, the peeling paint is littering the floorboards with snippets of messages, often just a few letters, a name or a word, like “home,” “rebuild” and “alone.” In the newly barren patches, more messages are being scrawled.
The serendipity of the monument stands in sharp contrast with the deliberate stone and steel structures put up in nearby Cunningham Park. The first structure is a three-tiered fountain with 5, 22 and 11 streams of water on the different levels to symbolize the date of the storm. The second is an enormous metal replica of the rubber wristbands s handed out to volunteers, emblazoned with the message “The Miracle of the Human Spirit.” A third one honoring relief workers is planned.”