After a long week of grieving, cleaning up, and seeing devastation at every turn, Joplin, Mo. residents are pausing this Memorial Day to honor those who have suffered so much loss.
President Obama toured the tornado-ravaged city Sunday offering words of consolation and pledging support as the legions of homeless and bereaved seek to rebuild their shattered lives.
"This is not just your tragedy," he said. "This is a national tragedy, and that means there will be a national response."
"I can promise you your country will be with you every step of the way," the president vowed, drawing cheers from the crowd.
All across town, residents packed the pews at Sunday services, even in places like Peach Lutheran Church, where the building no longer stands.
"The church is not the building," Pastor Gary Nelson told Peach Lutheran congregants. "We are, the church is the body of the people who are here to worship."
People in Joplin have been turning to each other for help but relying on faith for assurance that healing and peace will come.
"I don't know whether you can get through this without faith. I don't know if you can get through anything without faith," said Russ Shedelgower, a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church.
"That's one thing you have to know - that you cannot give up and that God is with us all the time," Peace Lutheran member Barbara Armstrong said.