BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — 56 years later and Mike Doyle, author of “The 1967 Belvidere Tornado”, continues his mission of keeping the story of that tragic day alive.
“I put the same four words in every book: ‘May we never forget’,” Doyle said.
Twenty-four people were lost that day, including 17 children.
“It’s so important to tell their stories. And when I make a presentation like this, I’m very aware of that. So that is always in the back of my mind that they entrusted their stories to me to tell them as best I can,” Doyle said.
Friday, on the 56-year anniversary of the tornado at the Boone County Museum of History, Doyle did a presentation on the 1967 tornado. It’s something he has been doing for decades now.
“Not only was it a tragic happening occurrence for Belvidere, but the book points out, as of the resounding effort to try to recover and how people helped each other and to get back to normal, we didn’t lose sight of the people we lost, but strong community, very strong ties and willing to work together,” said Doyle.
Now part of this mission is to learn from that devastating event. Touching on the fact of the late response back then and how, even just three weeks ago when a tornado touched down in Belvidere, warnings were issued right away.
“Official tornado warning wasn’t issued until 4:03 p.m., the clock stopped at the high schools at 3:50p.m. 13 minutes after the tornado had gone through. The fact that we had so many sirens, we had the ability to protect ourselves. This is the national news story today. We had a tornado watch last night. These things are happening. We need to be aware of them. All of this information is relevant today,” Doyle said.