31 July 2007


May 4, 2007 brought devastation to a tiny town in Kansas. Greensburg has a population of less than 1,500, and is roughly 970 square miles in area. The tornado that hit this south-central Kansas town was an EF5—the highest number on the scale for measuring the size and intensity of tornadoes. Reported to be over a mile in width, the twister came at night, leveling almost the entire town, killing 10 people. The aerial photos shown here say it all.

Living in Kansas, you get used to dealing with tornado season. Every spring, the monthly tornado siren tests start. Every thunderstorm has the potential to drop a tornado, so you learn to watch the TV weather reports closely. Some people have weather radios to warn them of oncoming storms. Shane and I have added the internet to our arsenal of weather-watching weapons. Weather is so important here that you eventually become a kind of expert on what to look for in the weather reports, and when to know if some really bad stuff is on its way to you.

Despite all this, I have become complacent. Even though we had a microburst in Lawrence last March, which is the closest I have come to being in a tornado since I was a small child, I tend not to get too freaked out when bad weather hits. I guess because I’ve lived here for so long (18 years), and in that time, there have only been a few tornadoes hit within the city limits, that I have taken for granted that we have always been safe. Storm, after storm, after storm come and go, and Lawrence is spared.

But really, we have just been lucky. Seeing what happened in Greensburg makes me think about how easy it is to lose everything. Think about it... In the blink of an eye, your entire life can be destroyed. Yes, your house has been leveled, but so has the grocery store, which means you can’t just run and buy more food. Go to work in the morning? Nope, that building is gone too. Drive to another town in order to find shelter and food? Sorry, your car is in pieces in a nearby wheat field. The bank, the post office, the courthouse, the ENTIRE TOWN is gone.

Thankfully for the people of Greensburg, there has been a lot of support from neighboring towns, as well as the state of Kansas, and even from people outside of Kansas. FEMA trailers have been trucked in for the families—-families that are determined to rebuild.

As a knitter, I am glad that I heard about Lara’s project to make afghans for the families of Greensburg (Thanks Lime & Violet!). She requested that knitters make 8” afghan squares and send them to her. She would wash, block, and oversee assembly of the afghans. I don’t do a lot of charity knitting, mostly because of a lack of time, but I wanted to contribute to this cause. No, it’s not money, or supplies; there are other organizations that are collecting those things. Donating to a knitting charity is about providing comfort during a difficult time. It’s about providing warmth. And, it’s about sharing love and prayers. I was only able to knit 5 squares.

Greensburg squares

It’s not that many when you consider that Lara has so far received over 2,600 squares, but a prayer is knitted into each one. God bless the citizens of Greensburg. May they rise above this difficult time and rebuild their lives, stronger than ever.


Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for such a lovely post about Greensburg and our project and the reasons we knit for others (I have a hard time really calling this one "charity knitting"). And thank you for knitting squares. I appreciate it more than I could say. :)

12:43 AM  

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