Tree planted at Plaza Towers to remember victims of May 20, 2013 tornado

MOORE, Okla. - Five years ago, a deadly and devastating tornado tore through Moore.

The EF-5 claimed the lives of 24 people and injured more than 200. Among those lives lost were seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary.

"This day still brings a lot of sorrow and pain with it and it will forever be part of our hearts," said Amy Simpson, who was the school's principal at the time of the tornado.

On the toughest day of the year - students, teachers, parents and a community of heroes came together - to remember and find strength in one another.

"Over the last five years, those of us here have walked, we've crawled, we've cried out, we've scratched our way to five years in remembering of this day," Simpson said.

On this somber anniversary, the lives lost are on everyone's minds and in their hearts.

All of those mourning, aiming to never forget, but to show the courage to continue moving forward.

To help with that goal of never forgetting, a new life was planted at Plaza Towers. The tree replaces a tree on campus that survived the tornado.

"About a year later, it was diseased and had to be taken out," current Plaza Towers Principal Patrick Chase said. "In remembrance of that anniversary, we thought of planting a new tree, brings a new hope and new outlooks."

The tree is now growing in a central location on campus, as the memories of the children who once used to walk that sacred ground live on.

"Those seven precious lives lost matter and are worthy of eternal remembrance," Simpson read from a statement by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.