This Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the deadly tornado that struck Belvidere.

victor zastol`skiy

My parents grew up in Belvidere, so I heard about the experiences with the tornado that hit the town in 1967. Hearing their recollection of the events was one thing, but seeing photos of the destruction is another. I totally understand why my Mom would be in such a rush to get us all to the basement whenever the tornado sirens went off.

Fifty years ago without any warning, a deadly tornado hit Belvidere. It killed 24 people, 17 of which were children, making it the deadliest tornado in Illinois history.

There was no warning it was coming, the sun disappeared and the sky darkened with a greenish tint.

The twister ripped through school buses. Children were forced to walk through fields of glass because the 260-mph winds of the tornado sucked off their shoes.

One survivor Teri Turner Keegan told that her bus driver told all the kids to get down there's a tornado.

Keegan, a ninth grader at the time, continued:

And then it started to roll, and it probably rolled for what seemed like an eternity. I'm sure it was seven, eight, nine times"

Another survivor Ray DeWane recalled:

I just can't believe today - 50 years later - that in that two minutes it can do that much damage,"

His family's restaurant and livestock auction house were also in the line of destruction.

Thanks to modern technology, severe weather is much easier to detect.

As a remembrance, a funnel-shaped memorial with the 24 names of those killed is up on the campus of Belvidere High School.

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