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HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- One year ago Saturday, a devastating EF-4 tornado ripped through Indiana and Kentucky, leaving more than 30 people dead and causing millions of dollars in damage.
In Henryville, Indiana today, a commemoration brought tears of both sorrow and celebration.
On this March 2nd, the skies over Henryville were just overcast as a flag was raised to begin the day's events; a flag designed by a victim of the storm, Adam Kleinert.
"I hope everybody, when they pass it, can feel the same pride I do in the community," said Kleinert.
That pride evident as the parade began with, appropriately, first responders leading the way. On this day, nothing more dangerous than candy rained down on bystanders.
Among the marchers, Betty Carver, whose home was leveled on March 2nd.
"As odd as it seems, this has been a good year to go through. Because, if I had heard this is the way you're going to be blessed, this is how things are going to go, I wouldn't have believed it. So much has been done. So much positive stuff has been done," said Carver.
Indeed, a march down the main street was a celebration of the march to recovery.
"We're pausing to give thanks for what so many thousands of people have done to help us rebuild," said Fr. Steve Schaftlein, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
"Every Hoosier's heart is in Henryville today," said Indiana Governor Mike Pence as he joined hundreds at Henryville High School for a special service.
The school had symbolized the destruction the storm left behind. Just as its rapid rebuilding came to symbolize the restoration.
"We saw good judgment, good leadership. We saw courage. And then we saw what we always see in Indiana and that is the overwhelming outpouring of support," said Gov. Pence.
"We're just thankful to be alive and thankful for the people that helped us, and we're willing to help others in the future," said principal Troy Albert.
Perhaps the most poignant moment, a piano playing a hymn at 3:10 p.m., the time the tornado hit.
"To see this town come back together from a year ago, it's been pretty incredible. So we're just here to support our friends and our family and be here for one another," said Stephanie Decker, who received national attention after losing her legs while protecting her children from falling debris.
With the formal ceremonies over, now comes the hard part for some, the day after March 2nd, as they return to life in the new normal.
"I think tomorrow morning, it's going to hit you. When you know that you actually survived March 2nd again," said tornado victim Trish Gilles.