TINKER AFB — The president spent several hours in our state touring the tornado ravaged areas of Moore. President Barrack Obama landed in Air Force One at Tinker Air Force base around 11:45 this morning.
There was tight security around the president’s visit. Lance West was at Tinker Air Force Base as he landed and then again when he took off.
The president’s main message today to Oklahoma? We’re not alone.
The president’s first view of the devastation was from the Air as Air Force One flew over the hardest hit areas of Moore. He then touched down at Tinker Air Force Base before traveling to ground zero for an up close look at the total destruction left behind by the tornado.
“A picture’s worth a thousand words and what we’re seeing here, I think, gives you some sense of what the people of Moore and the people of Oklahoma have been dealing with,” President Obama says.
As he walked through the area, Obama offered hugs and words of assurance that the entire country is standing behind Oklahoma.
“I’m speaking on behalf of the entire country. Everywhere fellow Americans are praying with you, they’re thinking about you. And they want to help. And so I’m just a messenger here today letting everyone here know you’re not alone, that you’ve got folks behind you,” the president explains.
President Obama’s first stop was to what’s left of Plaza Towers Elementary where seven students lost their lives. The president wiped away tears as he hugged the principal.
Governor Mary Fallin accompanied the president on his tour and let him know exactly what our state needs from him.
Governor Fallin says, “Basically what I need is the ability to get through red tape, the ability to get the FEMA funds in here quickly and to get the services that our citizens need to help them recover from this terrible disaster.”
In several piles of debris along the president’s route American flags could be seen flying high over rubble that was once homes.
The president, assuring Oklahomans; that he would come through.
“We know Moore is going to come back stronger from this tragedy. Your mayor said that you’re already printing new street signs. And I want folks throughout Oklahoma to know that we’re going to be with you every step of the way,” President Obama says.
Below is the video of his remarks at ground zero:
Moore Public Schools superintendent reacts to president’s visit
President Barack Obama visited the site of Plaza Towers Elementary School today with Moore Public Schools Superintendent Susan “Susie” Pierce, Governor Mary Fallin, Congressman Tom Cole and other state and local officials.
Following the visit, Superintendent Pierce said, “We were moved and honored by President Obama’s visit to our schools and to our community. He shared our grief for the precious lives lost, and lauded the principals, teachers and school staff whose quick response and bravery saved countless lives. President Obama’s words of encouragement and commitment of support give us even greater fortitude as we begin the process of healing and rebuilding.”
“The world now knows Moore is OK. We are strong; we are resilient; we will fight our way back,” Pierce added. “We are all Moore Public Schools and there is no place like home.”
Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary were destroyed in the May 20 tornado. Highland East Middle School was heavily damaged and other MPS facilities suffered damage, as well.