A Day of Remembrance


Luis Gonzalez, Editor-in-Chief

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Twenty five years ago a devastating tornado hit Plainfield on August 28th, 1990. It started at 3:15pm and slowly died around 3:45pm. The path ranged from about 200 yards to a mile, and it tore through 16.4 miles of public buildings (including Plainfield Central High School), domestic homes, and farm land, and the. The ending result was a grand total of 29 people killed, and injured 350 more injured according to the state’s weather report. For half an hour, the tornado left 160 million dollars worth of damages, thousands of residents homeless or without power, and traumatized families who witnessed the wrath of Mother Nature. Sue Vaira was 22 when she lost her dad, Howard Hawes.

“He was killed at St. Mary where he was a member”, stated Vaira. She heard the horrendous news from the Pastor, Bill Dewan.

“It took a long time to get over it. I didn’t just lose my dad, but my home too”, said Vaira. Paula Sirvatka, professor of meteorology of College of Dupage, also witnessed the destruction of the EF59 tornado.

“To me it was just a thunder storm…. The primary threat seemed to be the golf sized hail….. I had never seen anything like this. As I walked in (don’t know where yet), people were screaming ‘get away from the windows’. Winds were picking up around 80 to 90 mph. I was going to take I95 back to Plainfield… I never had seen a tornado. I’m devoting the rest of my career to preparedness”, Sirvatka claims. No one was warned of a tornado at the time it touched ground.

“It was a wakeup call that we weren’t doing our jobs as well as we could. It remains the only EF59 tornado in August. This tornado was perhaps the worst in the United States. We can never forget its victim and their families; I had a feeling something terrible was going to occur. I always get emotional”, WGN Tom Skiling said.


This past August, Plainfield Central High School held a ceremony to remember the lives lost in the 1990 tornado. The service closed Fort Beggs to begin the ceremony at 3:15, the time when the tornado touched ground. Vaira and 28 more families came together to remember their loved ones whose lives were lost in the tragic event. Over 80 people attended the service.

“The service turned out very nice. I think it’s emotional; it’s nice to see people coming together” stated Bob Smith, Principle of PCHS.