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As America Mourns Fallen Heroes, Communities Grieve 22 Lives Lost to Extreme Storms

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Monday was marked by grief across America as deadly storms swept the country and millions paused to honor our fallen military heroes. In five states, communities are picking up the pieces after severe weather destroyed homes and businesses and killed 22 people over the long holiday weekend.

President Biden delivered remarks honoring the men and women who've given their lives in service to the country. The commander-in-chief honored America's fallen warriors at Arlington National Cemetery. 

"Every generation has to earn it, fight for it, defend it in battle between autocracy and democracy, between the greed of a few and the rights of many. It matters. Our democracy is more than just a system of government," Biden said. 

Former President Donald Trump met with Gold Star families of military service members who gave their lives in service to the country. 
Meanwhile, those deadly storms ripped through several states over the weekend. More than 2-dozen tornadoes touched down in the central part of the country killing at least 22 people, including 4 children.

States of emergency were declared in Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky where officials say at least 100 highways and roads sustained damage.

Tornado survivor Ricky Herron said, "It got so intense that I could feel every particle of dirt, sand, fiberglass, glass hitting my face."

Tornado damage in Valley View, TX, May 26, 2024. Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across TX, OK and AR after obliterating homes. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Tornado damage in Valley View, TX, May 26, 2024. Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across TX, OK and AR after obliterating homes. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Two hundred homes and businesses in Texas were destroyed. More storms are expected in the days ahead and record heat is forecast to extend across the South as crews race to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

One survivor from Valley View, Texas, Dr. Joshua Fowler of Awake The World ministries, told CBN News in an email his family narrowly survived by the grace of God.

"We literally were seconds from not making it," he recounted. "I ran in the room and woke up Lisa and the kids and we ran to the little bathroom beneath the stairs. We no more than got inside and the tornado hit the house. The most terrifying sound I've ever heard. Felt and sounded like we were going to be sucked out of the house. We prayed and rebuked the enemy at the top of our lungs. Kids crying and shaking. Insane! But God! House is destroyed, but we're all alive!"

In Arkansas, at least eight people were killed. In the city of Rogers, east of Bentonville, power lines were torn down while businesses and homes were destroyed. 

"Tried to make it to the hallway. That's the most central part of our house and that's when we realized we didn't have a roof," one man said. 

In Marion County there are similar scenes. 
"We felt it hit the house and felt it started sucking air up through the walls and the windows," said Justin Hurst whose home was destroyed. 

Churches are stepping up to help their communities. In Valley View, Texas, several congregations are providing shelter and other assistance to those who've lost their homes, as well as hot meals for first responders.

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About The Author

Wendy Griffith

Wendy Griffith is a Co-host for The 700 Club and an Anchor and Senior Reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to The 700 Club, Wendy co-anchors Christian World News, a weekly show that focuses on the triumphs and challenges of the global church. ( Wendy started her career at CBN on Capitol Hill, where she was the network’s Congressional Correspondent during the Impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton. She then moved to the Virginia Beach headquarters in 2000 to concentrate on stories with a more