93rd Anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

93rd Anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado

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MURPHYSBORO -- March 18, 2018 marks the 93rd anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado.

It remains the deadliest tornado in U.S. history and also the longest tracking tornado on record. In total, 695 people were killed, including 613 just in southern Illinois, along with more than two-thousand injuries.

The twister cut a 219 mile path across southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and southwest Indiana. It devastated the towns of Gorham, Murphysboro, De Soto, West Frankfort along with many more.

"Murphysboro has the dubious honor of being the city that had the greatest number of deaths, from a tornado than any city in the history of the United States," said Mike Jones, Executive Director at the General John A. Logan Museum.

It's a tragic day in history many people can never forget, including those who weren't born yet, like Jones. 

"I was born 20 years after the tornado hit and raised with a mother and father and two grandparents who all survived the tornado, and it was common talk," Jones said.

Some of his family was separated during the tornado but eventually came together.

"My mom's dad was working in a coal mine and he told about being in a coal mine and then all of a sudden it filled up with dust and nobody could see anything," Jones said. 

Many families lost everything.

"My grandmother got some of her family photographs from a lady in Terre HauteIndiana," Jones said. 

It was during those dark times that Jones says the community stepped up.

"And everybody was forced to help other people, and I think that makes heroes," Jones said. "When you look at a community, what's the strength of this community? Look what it's survived."

93 years later, Jones stresses the importance of knowing this history and remembering the heroic individuals.

"If you don't know where you've been, how do you know where you're going?" Jones said. "We have to have that empathy to make us more human I think."

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