April 21, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Belvidere tornado that killed 24, 17 of those were children.
Members of the community gathered at Belvidere High School Friday afternoon to tell their stories of survival and remember those who were lost.
On Friday, April 21, 1967, just before 4 p.m., the community was getting ready for the weekend. School was dismissed. Connie Harris was 13 years old. She remembers getting on the bus to go home on a Friday afternoon. She told her story of survival. Ronald Day had a similar story. Just 7 at the time, he was on bus #16. Many students who were on that bus were killed when the tornado hit.
During the memorial service, the Belvidere Fire and Police Chiefs read the names of the 24 people who lost their lives that day. A ceremonial ringing of the bell by the fire department, one time for each life lost, also took place.
Despite the tragedy that day, people at today's event gathered to share stories of heroism and courage. Many met at the tornado memorial that sits outside Belvidere High School. Flowers and photos adorn the monument. The memorial ceremony continued at the Boone County Museum of History.