Monday marks 50th anniversary of 1970 tornado, pandemic sets bac - FOX34 Lubbock

Monday marks 50th anniversary of 1970 tornado, pandemic sets back memorial dedication

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the Lubbock tornado that killed 26 people and wounded nearly 1,500 others.

The Lubbock Tornado Memorial Gateway, at Glenna Goodacre and Ave. Q, was intended to be completed in time for the anniversary.

The F-5 started near the Texas Tech campus and swept through downtown and north Lubbock.

"Over 150 million dollars of damage was done in less that a few minutes. And it took years for us to recover," Texas State Historian Monte Monroe said.

The committee has been working on the project for several years and broke ground last September. The memorial will act as a gateway to downtown, one of the areas most damaged by the tornado.

"It's really just neat to see how our community is so resilient and I think that it's going to be a gathering place for people in downtown," Dan Williams, Chairman of the Fundraising Committee, said.

Two walls symbolize the tornado's paths and are built of bricks that will bear the victim's names and the names of community leaders who helped rebuild Lubbock.

"Their lives will never be replaced, but their legacy will live on at this memorial wall," Monroe said.

Now, the dedication will take place next year on the 51st anniversary.

"I want all the citizens of Lubbock to come out here when we finish and really, really be proud of what we have here," Robert Taylor, Vice Chairman of the Memorial Committee, said. "And remember that it took a lot of hard work and sweat and under very, very terrible circumstances to recover from May 11, 1970."

The committee has provided several opportunities to reflect on the anniversary.

26 church bells will be rung at 6:55 p.m. Monday in memory of the lives lost. At 9:45 p.m., residents are encouraged to turn on their porch lights as a tribute to the tragedy that struck out city.

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