Time seemed to speed by and stand still at the same time. A year had gone by. The city and different organizations planned a memorial for the victims of the tornado that ravaged our community. This would mark the first anniversary and many more to come. The event was bitter and full of sorrow. Although a year had passed, much of the area still looked like it did that day. We were banding together to get our lives back. City officials and community leaders made their speeches.

During the event, members were asked to come up and sign a balloon with the names of the family members that were killed in the storm. As soon as they came up a crowd of reporters and news outlets surrounded them to get their shot-cameras were shoved in their faces. My heart broke when I saw this. As a photographer, this made me very uncomfortable. It felt like they were an exhibit or on display for everyone's pleasure.

I wasn't going to do this. I'm a photographer and a victim myself. Tears were streaming down my face. We were just beginning to wear masks then and mine hid my pain. I turned from the frenzy and made a shot of the balloons as they let them go. This is the moment that shaped what I choose to photograph.