America

As Recovery Continues, Obama Heads To Oklahoma

Southmoore High School senior Jake Spradling hugs a classmate as they get ready to attend their commencement ceremony in Oklahoma City on Saturday. i i

hide captionSouthmoore High School senior Jake Spradling hugs a classmate as they get ready to attend their commencement ceremony in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Charlie Riedel/AP
Southmoore High School senior Jake Spradling hugs a classmate as they get ready to attend their commencement ceremony in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Southmoore High School senior Jake Spradling hugs a classmate as they get ready to attend their commencement ceremony in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Charlie Riedel/AP

President Obama is scheduled to visit the city of Moore, Okla., today, to survey the devastation left behind by by a monster EF-5 tornado.

The AP reports:

"Obama plans to meet with affected families and thank first responders during a visit Sunday to Moore, Okla. The White House says Obama wants a firsthand look at the recovery from the tornado that killed 24 and damaged an estimated 12,000 homes Monday afternoon. ...

"Obama offered prayers for the people of Oklahoma from the White House in recent days. He said that 'while the road ahead will be long, their country will be with them every single step of the way.'"

Meanwhile, the recovery continues. Yesterday, for example, the town's three high schools held a graduation ceremony at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

As The Oklahoman reports, it was an especially bittersweet day for 18-year-old Alyson Costilla, who's mother was killed during the tornado.

Costilla told the paper that her mother asked her to try on her cap and gown when she got it because she wanted to see her in it.

"She was really excited to see me graduate, she couldn't wait," Costilla said.

But her mother wasn't there. Instead, friends and family held up photographs of her as Costilla crossed the stage.

Costilla said that her mother, Terri Long, always told her to stay calm. That's what she told her the last time they spoke on the phone, as Long headed into a convenience store to seek shelter.

"Mom would tell me, 'Be strong in times of tragedy,'" Costilla told the Oklahoman. "It's just really hard to do that."

The AP reports that many of the graduates there had lived through seven tornadoes. But many of them vowed to stay in Moore.

"I wouldn't want to be in any other place. It's our roots. Tornadoes are a part of life here," 18-year-old Brooke Potter told the AP.

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