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MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – It was a somber celebration for some in Moore, as high school seniors graduated and honored seven young Oklahomans whose lives were lost too soon.

“I’m ecstatic for the children that were part of the Plaza Towers Group. Part of the kids that were in third grade that day that are walking across the stage today,” said Danni Legg. “There are so many kids that either dropped out, their parents got divorced. The aftermath of the tornado that nobody ever talks about.”

The 2022 class of Southmoore Seniors earned their diplomas Thursday evening. However, seven of their peers were absent. They lost their lives nine years ago when a huge EF5 tornado tore through the town. The twister reduced Plaza Towers Elementary school to rubble.

“Everybody says it’ll get easier. But I kind of think it gets a little bit harder, because you haven’t seen them. You haven’t got to hug them,” said Sharon Dixon.

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Seven young Moore tornado victims were memorialized during the high school graduation in Moore Thursday. Image KFOR

Sharon and Marvin Dixon’s grandson, Kyle Davis, was hunkered down in the school’s hallway on May 20, 2013. When the tornado hit, walls and ceilings fell down on top of the eight year old.

“They said he didn’t suffer, that when the beam fell, it struck him in the back of the neck and that he died instantly,” said Marvin. “His wings were ready; our hearts weren’t. And, you know, you’re never ready for that.”

The Dixons said Kyle, or “Hammy,” was never afraid of a camera. He was also not afraid to chase down a soccer ball, earning the nickname “The Wall.”

The Dixons said if Hammy would’ve made it to high school, he would’ve been a soccer star.

“He’d say, ‘I want to be a soccer champion when I grow up!’ and he loved the sport,” said Marvin. “He was just a special kid.”

Danni Legg said her son Christopher, who also died that day at the school, was a football, basketball and baseball player. There is no doubt in his mother’s mind that Christopher would have earned his cap and gown.

“He would have graduated. I don’t know if he would have graduated with honors, but he was a sports nut instead. He would have had a slew of friends,” said Legg.

At the Moore High School Stadium, the seven angels were with the class in spirit.

“As we recognize our 20, 21 20, 22 graduates, we also remember and honor our Plaza Towers students whose lives were tragically cut short on May 20, 2013. Prominently displayed along the front of the stage are lanterns representing the lives of Sydney Marie Angel, Antonia Leigh Candelaria, Emily Conatzer, Kyle Steven Davis, Janae Louise Hornsby, Christopher Andrew Lloyd Legg, Nicolas Scott McCabe. Even though they are not here with us graduating tonight, their lives still shines and they are still remembered.”