At 5:41 P.M. on May 22, 2011, an EF-5 tornado ripped through Cunningham Park and the greater Joplin area, leaving a path of death and destruction one mile wide by six miles long in its wake. Over 160 people perished in the storm. What immediately followed in staggering numbers and through personal accounts is "The Miracle of the Human Spirit"
The Miracle of the Human Spirit symbolizes the incredible outpouring of volunteers who have lifted Joplin out of the rubble. Countless volunteers from all walks of life have offered themselves to the Joplin effort without request, serving as a reminder of the overwhelming power of human generosity and the steadfast tenacity to rebuild the once broken city.
This tribute embodies the volunteers' determination through four rippling garden walls, representing Joplin's ongoing rescue, recover, demolition, and rebirth. Several elements within the tribute - bronzed artifacts, a mosaic of remnants, a volunteer statue, and the emblematic wristband - represent the volunteers' unprecedented response. Joplin and its residents are eternally grateful to those heroes.