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On May 22, 2011, an EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin and neighboring Duquense, killing 161 people.As part of KSMU's quarterly Sense of Community series May 18-23, we examined the recovery efforts since the storm.View our stories below to hear from city leaders and community members about the rebuilding challenges, successes, and resiliency of those involved over these past five years. You'll learn about the Disaster Recovery Summit, a two-day event bringing together citizens and leaders from other tornado-stricken communities to assess recovery efforts, how tornado safe rooms have become commonplace in southwest Missouri since the storm, and how the city and school are honoring those lost as a result of the tornado.

Special Tree to be Planted in Joplin Sunday

9/11 Memorial

As Joplin observes the five-year anniversary of the tornado this weekend, a tree will be planted outside Mercy Hospital Joplin. 

The hospital replaces St. John’s, which was destroyed in the storm.

But it’s not just any tree that will be planted—it’s one grown from seeds of a special tree.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a Callery pear tree clung to life on that site.  It was removed from the rubble with snapped roots and broken branches and sent for rehabilitation.  After its remarkable recovery, it was eventually replanted at the 9/11 Memorial.

The 9/11 Memorial Committee announced last fall that Mercy Joplin would receive one of three saplings grown from seeds of that Survivor Tree along with Newtown, Connecticut and Madrid, Spain.

A planting ceremony will be held Sunday at noon—the anniversary of the storm—at the hospital’s Cancer Center entrance, 100 Mercy Way.  Mercy says the event will celebrate the rebuilding of Joplin and the community’s resilience.