MOORE, Okla. (AP) — Backed by choirs and religious leaders, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin urged residents of a city hit hard by a tornado to hold on to hope during trying times.
Fallin hosted the Oklahoma Strong memorial service at First Baptist Church in Moore. Television stations broadcast the service throughout the state.
Briarwood Elementary School teacher Waynel James told the congregation about how she and her classroom prepared for the tornado bearing down on their school.
She said she told her students that heroes would be on the way after a tornado hit their school. They thought she meant Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
She had in mind emergency workers who came to their aid, plus neighbors who dropped everything to help.
James and her pupils received two standing ovations -- once on their way in and again after the children sang "Jesus Loves Me."
Rabbi Veder Harris read from the first book of Kings, noting that God wasn't in the storm, but is in the "still, clear voice within us."
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City offered praise and glory and asked God to look upon His family.
Fallin herself quoted from Psalm 46, which says God is our strength even if mountains tremble.
Storms last Sunday and Monday killed 26 and injured hundreds. The program for the service included photos of tornado damage.
PHOTOS: The aftermath in Moore (http://bit.ly/may20photos)