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Hundreds attend Walk of Silence for lives lost in 2011 Joplin to - KOAM TV 7

Hundreds attend Walk of Silence for lives lost in 2011 Joplin tornado

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI - Organizers of the Joplin Memorial Half tomorrow say the tagline of the weekend is to "run, remember, rebuild."

As part of the "remembering," a Walk of Silence was held on Joplin Avenue this evening.

The mile stretch of Joplin Avenue between 9th Street and 20th Street is lined with tall, white and gold banners.

161 flags, each bearing the name of a life lost in the 2011 tornado.

Family members say finding the names of loved ones is a touching experience.

"Walk of Silence, for me, is really a chance to remember everything that happened in Joplin because of the tornado, but definitely specifically my dad and sister because I lost them," said Carey Oster, participant. "It helps me to heal each time from losing them and what happened to our community."

Oster has participated in the Walk of Silence every year, and says it's just as meaningful each time.

"It doesn't become less just because the time goes by," he said.

Organizers say the walk is not only held for the family and friends of those who lost their lives, but also for the entire Joplin community as a whole.

"It's very, I think an important event for this community," said Audie Dennis, president of Active Lifestyle Events. "It's part of the healing process."

"It's really a moving experience to see all the names," said Bobby Ballard, Walk of Silence leader.

Those in attendance say the large turnout means so much.

"This is such an honor that you all do this for our family members that we lost," said Brenda Nichols, participant. "They're gone. We can't bring them back, but to see their name up here means so much, so much to know they're not forgotten."

Many are hopeful the tradition will continue for many years to come.

"I really hope that they continue doing this and it helps people," Oster said.

Hundreds took part in the walk tonight, and upwards of 3,000 people are expected to turnout for the memorial run tomorrow.

The half marathon race begins at 6:30 a.m., with the 5K race at 6:45 a.m., starting at Memorial Hall.
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