- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014

GOSHEN, Ala. (AP) - Written in brass on a plaque at the Goshen memorial are the names of brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and sons.

There are no asterisks to identify who lived, and who died, when the tornado hit Goshen United Methodist church north of Piedmont on March 27, 1994. The 146 names of those in the congregation that day are all of one body.

It’s that way in Mary Watson’s heart, as well.

Watson, a longtime Goshen United Methodist church member, lost her 9-year-old daughter Amy, and Buddy Woods, her husband of 18 years, that rainy morning 20 years ago. The tornado that struck the church took 20 lives, six of them children.

Last weekend, Watson joined other survivors and others at the rebuilt church for a special service to remember those who died.

In all, 29 tornadoes tore across the Southeast that day - six in Alabama - killing 40 people.

The tornado has become a part of the lives of those in the little church in Goshen Valley that day, the current pastor of Goshen United Methodist Church, the Rev. Joe DeWitte, told The Anniston Star.

The service was a time to remember those lost, but it isn’t hard for Watson to remember her late husband. She sees a lot of Buddy in her grown son, Marcus - in the way, for example, he plays ball with his own children. Standing recently at the memorial just north of the church on Alabama 9, she recalled that Palm Sunday.

Marcus was 13 the morning he found his sister lying on a pew, pinned underneath cinderblocks and heavy rubble.

He tried, but was unable, to free her, and his pleas for her to wake up did nothing. Someone saw Marcus struggling and walked him out of the church, Watson said. Buddy suffered severe head trauma and died at the hospital the next morning.

“The sky just looked different that morning, but the kids were going to be in a play,” Watson, now remarried, said.

Amy was supposed to sing a solo in the service, and the church was packed with friends and family.

Not long after the music began the sound system shut off and the church lights flickered, but the singing carried on.

“Then it just happened so fast,” Watson said. “I never did get to hear her sing it. I will one day.”

Watson was hit by something that morning and fell to the ground, trapped underneath bricks and splintered wood, her legs drawn underneath her. The crushing weight of the debris broke both her legs, six ribs, crushed her pelvis and tore her stomach.

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