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Public Statements

Oklahoma Disaster

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we are all thinking today about the tragic loss of life in Oklahoma yesterday, so this morning I would like to take a moment to express my condolences to all who lost family and friends in this horrible disaster. It has been a truly heartbreaking loss of life--dozens injured and killed yesterday, including many children. The tornado that tore through Moore flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed at least two elementary schools--Briarwood and Plaza Towers--just as students were about to be released for their last week of school before the summer recess. I don't think any of us can comprehend the searing grief of their parents. I am told that two crews from the Louisville Red Cross recently left for Oklahoma to help those who are now suffering.

Kentuckians understand the terrible toll these storms can take. Just last March I toured the wreckage after a deadly tornado in West Liberty, KY, where churches, businesses, and schools were reduced to rubble and where several Kentuckians lost their life. I remember full well the tornado that went through my hometown of Louisville back in the 1970s. It knocked down every house on my parents' street. My mother was in the basement, and mercifully it skipped over our house for some reason but leveled all the houses across the street and the ones next door. It is very hard to accurately describe the devastation a storm such as this leaves in its wake.

As first responders continue to dig through the rubble in Moore, I fear we will hear a lot more bad news in the days ahead. That said, I am sure we will also hear stories of hope and self-sacrifice, as we almost always do when tragedies such as this strike--of strangers shielding strangers, of neighbors helping others rebuild, of volunteers working through the night to sift through the debris to find survivors.

As we have seen time and time again in recent years, Americans are at their best when called upon to help each other in tragic circumstances, and this circumstance can hardly be more tragic. So we in the Senate offer our heartfelt prayers to those affected by this terrible storm. We offer our gratitude to the first responders. We offer our encouragement to Governor Fallin and the many Federal, State, and local officials who are working hard to assist in the recovery and who will aid in the rebuilding of homes and schools and families and lives.


Later this morning the majority leader and I will welcome the leader of Burma, Thein Sein. He will be here to discuss the reform in that country and our bilateral relationship. Later today I will have more to say about the reform movement in Burma.

I yield the floor.

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