US & Canada

Joplin victims and response remembered on anniversary

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Media captionObama: 'Class of 2012, that story is yours'

The city of Joplin, Missouri, is remembering the first anniversary of the tornado that ripped the town in half, killing 161 people.

A sunrise service for medical workers and volunteers and a unity walk through the hardest hit areas were among the commemoration events.

The 22 May 2011 tornado was the deadliest in the US in six decades.

On Monday, President Barack Obama gave the graduation speech at Joplin High School, which the storm destroyed.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon addressed an early morning service on Tuesday at a Joplin hospital, to honour emergency workers and survivors of the storm.

"Scripture tells us that the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day," Mr Nixon said.

'Defined by recovery'

The four-mile (6.4km) Walk of Unity was scheduled to take residents, volunteers and politicians through some of Joplin's most badly hit neighbourhoods.

It began in Duquesne, a neighbouring community that lost nine people and where 750 homes were destroyed. In Joplin, the procession was to move past a Walmart where three people died and finish in Cunningham Park.

At the end of the walk, a moment of silence will be observed at 17:41 (22:41 GMT).

Joplin officials are also breaking ground at three new schools being built to replace those lost last year.

In a graduation speech on Monday, President Obama said the city's people had been defined by their recovery from the disaster, not the storm itself. The tornado tore through the school just after last year's high school graduation.

"The story of Joplin isn't just what happened that day, it's the story of what happened the next day," Mr Obama said. "And the day after that. And all the days and weeks and months that followed."

The storm touched down in the city of 50,000, levelling 8,000 buildings, including much of the city's south side and injuring hundreds of people.

Winds of up to 200mph (321km/h) were recorded.

At least 745 animals were adopted after the tornado.

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