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Our View: Remembering those lives lost in the Plainfield tornado

A memorial marks the path of destruction left the 1990 Plainfield tornado.
A memorial marks the path of destruction left the 1990 Plainfield tornado.

Today is one of those days no one really wants to remember, but the gravity of what transpired demands we do not forget.

Twenty-five years ago, on Aug. 28, 1990, a tornado tore through our communities. It was unlike anything ever seen before, and rarely seen after either.

Winds faster than 300 miles per hour. A school and church, often the heart of a community, gone in seconds. More than 1,000 homes damaged or destroyed. It left behind destruction and despair, as the families and friends of the 29 killed mourned their loss. The list of what the winds took is long and tragic.

But like so many tragedies, especially those wrought by Mother Nature, we also saw the best in people. Neighbors pitched in to help however they could. Assistance from other municipalities and governments was welcomed, and they helped with everything from the cleanup efforts to public safety. Relief funds in excess of $2 million were raised and distributed to help rebuild.

We remember today – not just the winds of destruction, but the help that came from near and far to aid the communities in rebuilding. We remember the hope that sprung as the debris was cleared and building began again.

And we remember, and honor, those who were lost:

• Henry T. Bergquist

• Sarah Brower

• Tatiana Brown

• Patricia Sue Combs

• Leslie Egizio

• Thomas Egizio

• Vicki J. Egizio

• Ryan Glaser

• Janis Granat

• Howard Hawes Jr.

• Leticia Herrod

• Stephen P. Hunt

• Alice Jean Johnson

• James E. Kachel

• Kent Keeley Sr.

• Mary Keenan

• Eddie Lee Jr.

• Charles Likes

• Virginia Lydon

• James L. Niccum

• James Pullen

• Alida Riffel

• Frank Riffel

• Gloria Sanchez

• Phoumy Senephimmachac

• Pat Skoien

• Brian Paul Strohm

• Thomas Thayer

• Eric Wilson

There are many ways to commemorate today. There is a service at 3 p.m. at the Plainfield Tornado Memorial at Fort Beggs Street and Pratt Lane. There are exhibits at the Plainfield Historical Society Museum and the Joliet Historical Museum, and the Plainfield Library has a collection of photos and oral accounts too.

Or maybe you are more comfortable reflecting privately. Whatever you choose, take a minute today to remember and honor the past.

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