Permanent memorial planned in honor of Lee County tornado victims

Victims of March 3 tornadoes remembered in Lee County

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - This time one year ago strong storms were pounding Alabama. Two tornadoes touched down in Lee County, March 3, 2019. One, a massive EF-4, hit the Beauregard community, taking 23 lives.

One year later, on the anniversary of the storm, the community remembers the lives lost as they work to recover and rebuild. Several events were held throughout the day to remember the lives of those lost during the storms.

“It was a difficult day and when I look back and remember, it was emotional," said Chirs Darden with the National Weather Service. "Obviously we do our best to get warnings, to get the information out, get the forecast so people know the storms are coming, but when we hear the reports of damage coming in it affects us. We have people here that are from Alabama. We grew up here, we have an individual that’s from Lee County - grew up in Smiths Station, so when the reports come in it hits us personally.”

“It doesn’t seem like a year to me, but to those who lost loved ones and their homes I’m sure it seems like an eternity right now, so we still think about them every day, we still pray for them. It’s still heartbreaking," said Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Rita Smith.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a scheduled groundbreaking ceremony for a permanent memorial for the victims at Providence Baptist Church was held.

This is what the permanent Lee County tornado victim memorial will look like.
This is what the permanent Lee County tornado victim memorial will look like. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

At 6 p.m., there was a night of remembrance as part of a special church service.

One candle is set at Beauregard's Providence Baptist Church for each of the 23 victims of the Lee County tornadoes.
One candle is set at Beauregard's Providence Baptist Church for each of the 23 victims of the Lee County tornadoes. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a proclamation Tuesday in which she ordered all flags to be displayed at half-staff in remembrance of the victims and encouraged that “all citizens reflect upon the memory of those who were lost.”

At 2:03 Tuesday afternoon - the time the tornado hit Lee County - we shared a video on our WSFA 12 News Facebook honoring the 23 victims.

Beauregard victims of March 3, 2019

Take a moment to remember the Beauregard tornado victims lost a year ago and their families. https://bit.ly/3cCJwsi

Posted by WSFA-TV on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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