POSTED: Monday, May 30, 2011 - 8:03am
UPDATED: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 6:10pm
Residents continue to pick up the pieces of their shattered community.
This Memorial Day weekend is anything but a holiday in Joplin.
Family and friends are gathering, but there's no barbecue there's no games.
Instead they are meticulously sifting through every scrap, every little piece of what used to be their lives.
They separate the mess into two piles.
Some is trash and some of it treasure.
"These are my dad's dogtags and my mom's wedding rings…" says Dollie Shields, tornado victim.
"We found his bible, and his memorial flag and my mom's jewelry.. And so we're finding all kinds of little things we never thought we would."
But as they work to get rid of the debris, it's clear.
Cutting through the emotional ruins may be a more difficult task.
Carol Brockman survived the storm, but is haunted by what she saw when the wind stopped blowing.
"As we walked through the fields, bodies, I had to view one dead child already, a little girl. A dad that was hysterical. Another boy that they had no way to help. He was beat to a pulp by this tornado." Said Brockman.
So many here have been beat-up physically and emotionally.
The wounds will be slow to heal.
"We're gonna be strong and we're gonna pull together.. And we'll survive.. And you know when people tell me that.. I kind of say 'ok' but i don't believe it.. You know, it's gonna be years.. You know.. It's gonna be years…" says Brockman.
Jay Gray, NBC News, Joplin, Missouri.