LUBBOCK, Texas – On May 11, 1970, a tornado hit Lubbock and killed 26 people. 50 years later, the City of Lubbock and Texas Tech University are honoring the deceased and everyone who was impact by the damage it caused.
One Texas Tech alumni, Jason Douglass, was a senior at the time the tornado hit and he remembers it to this day. Because of the tornado, his graduation plans were forced to change.
“It (the graduation) was gonna be in the Coliseum, which the Coliseum was still there, but it was turned over or had been turned into a housing area for people who had lost their homes. And so that was not available for our graduation ceremonies, and so it got scrapped and everybody fully understood,” said Douglass.
Now he looks back at how much has changed and how far the city has come.
“My roommate and I were walking through the community, trying to get people to donate candles, or flashlights and then take them back there so again it was just a lot of people helping a lot of people,” said Douglass.
Texas Tech is launching a special website in remembrance, featuring stories from alumni, their memories of the storm and even side-by-side comparisons of then and now pictures.
“Just a great exercise in community coming together, the campus came together with all the resources they had to help get out of this horrible mess,” said Douglass.
At 9:45 p.m. on Monday, Tech’s campus will go completely black in remembrance of when the tornado touched down. Because of social distancing, the university is asking people to stay home and turn their porch lights on to remember the victims.
“Everybody might want to just have it during that time, can I say a prayer for all those who were in that lesson and pray for the ones who did not get out of it,” said Douglass.
Saddle Tramps will also be ringing the bell 26 times, once for each victim.