Joplin Tornado One Year Anniversary

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JOPLIN, MO (CNN) - Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of the devastating Joplin, Missouri tornado.  The city is calling it a, "Day of Unity". the powerful tornado, packing winds of more than 200 miles an hour, destroyed some 7,500 buildings. It leveled homes, businesses and schools.  It also took the lives of 161 people.

The twister claimed Saint Mary's Catholic Church, but left the cross. Father Justin Monaghan says he entered into "High Speed" Prayer while taking shelter in the bathroom. He emerged from the rubble to see the enduring cross.

"I just looked and I thought wow, God is really with us, and he's letting us know he's going to take care of us. It was a tremendous. It was a real gift to see that and it became a symbol all over the community, in fact all over the world." said Father Justin Monaghan.

About a mile to the West Joplin High School is a massive pile of rubble. The school operated out of a mall this school year.

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President Obama traveled to Joplin on Monday to deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors.

"You're from Joplin. You will always know that it's always possible for a community to come together when it matters most." said President Obama.

Joplin's Mayor says the city is slowly getting back on its feet.

More:  See pictures, video and stories from Joplin after the tornadoes touched down

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