A decade later

A memorial service remembering the 10th anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes will be held this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum.

A community memorial ceremony will be held at the DeKalb County Tornado Monument and Memorial and Serenity Gardens on April 24 beginning at 2 p.m.

The special event is dedicated to the lives lost and those united in care and recovery, including the recognition of surviving family and friends and emergency responders.

On April 27, 2011, 62 tornadoes ravaged Alabama in one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in the nation's history. In the outcome of those storms, there were 248 people killed in Alabama on that day. A monument that bears the names of 35 of those victims rests under the cantilever of the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum.

Along with a quote from Mother Teresa, the memorial reads, "Remembering lives lost and in tribute to those who united for the care and recovery". The other side has a scroll with the 35 names listed, and water flows across the bottom of both sides of the monument.

Event Coordinator Linda Samples said this is the 10th anniversary of the tornadoes that came through Rainsville, and DeKalb county lost 35 people that day.

"So, we went to working immediately to have them a memorial, and we had it ready to open one year from the time of the tornado; It was a lot of volunteer work," she said.

Samples said they worked every weekend for a year to have the memorial built, and it was funded by private donations.

The garden was designed by members of the DeKalb County Master Gardeners, and Derek Phillips and Peggy Benefield designed the memorial.

The memorial committee was led by Rainsville City Councilman Bejan Taheri. Taheri oversaw the fundraising, planning and dedication ceremony.

Samples said they would be placing wreaths of flowers on the memorials and have a candle burning at the ceremony for the lives lost.

"We also have a banner we will be placing out this year saying 'We Remember' with the date that we will display every year," Samples said. "We wanted to recognize the first responders and all the people who helped during that time."

Guest speakers will include Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Channel 48 Weatherman Brad Travis. Brad Travis covered the weather throughout the Tornado event ten years ago will be there to speak. Also, Senator Steve Livingston and Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter will be speaking.

Samples said, "We've contacted a lot of the families and we are hoping they will come, and we hope that we have a good crowd."

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