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Ceremony Marks Start of Joplin Hospital’s Demo

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A tree stripped of bark and leaves frames St. John's Regional Medical Center on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

A tree stripped of bark and leaves frames St. John’s Regional Medical Center on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) – Demolition has begun on a Joplin hospital that took a direct hit from a deadly May 22 tornado.

The Joplin Globe reported that about 1,000 people turned out Sunday for a ceremony at the shell of the once-bustling of St. John’s Mercy Hospital. Speakers talked about the history of the hospital before a wrecking ball ceremonially smacked the side of the building a few times. From there, the crowd went to a groundbreaking ceremony for the new structure. It is being built at a site three miles away.

The tornado cut a wide path through Joplin and hit the hospital particularly hard, knocking out virtually every window, killing and injuring several people inside.

For now, St. John’s is operating out of a temporary space.

Information from: The Joplin Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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