5-9-07 - President George W. Bush arrived in Wichita at 9am Wednesday. Air Force One landed at McConnell AFB and then boarded Marine One to fly to the disaster area. He flew over Greensburg several times, landed and then joined a caravan of vehicles for a ground tour.
Saying "pictures don't do it justice," he toured the town from the air and on the ground, trying to lift spirits along the way, the president said he came to Kansas hoping to "touch somebody's soul" by representing the country.
"My mission today is to lift people's spirits the best that I can," said the President during a statement to media. "I want to let them know that even though there was a dark day in the past, there are brighter days ahead... God bless the people here"
At least eleven people were killed by the storm, a death count the president described as "too many." But he added that many others were fortunate enough to "see another day."
The twister, packing winds over 200 miles-per-hour, destroyed an
estimated 95 percent of the town, with almost every building gone,
including churches, the city hall and the hospital.
The President stopped at a tractor dealership, where the building was gutted and the plows were mangled. In a nearby neighborhood, a spray-painted sign read: "Please pardon our mess."
Bush briefly grabbed a chain saw, ripping it into action for the media that accompanied him. He was also given a rundown of the damage and the recovery from the city administrator and Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
To see all of the KAKE stories on Greensburg, click here
The tornado that hit the town has been rated as an EF5 - the largest rating the Enhanced Fujita Scale. An EF0 tornado will likely damage trees but not substantial structures, whereas an EF5 tornado can rip buildings off their foundations leaving them bare and even deform large skyscrapers.