Monday, September 11, 2017

We Will Rebuild

Sixteen years ago enemy-caused disaster happened on American soil. Our lives changed on that day. We dug through the rubble, and helped one another out of the ashes and debris. We were stunned. But we set our jaws and said, “We will rebuild.”

Sixteen days ago nature-caused disaster happened on Texas soil. Our lives changed on that day. We dug through the rubble, and helped one another out of the flood waters and debris. We were stunned. But we set our jaws and said, “We will rebuild.”

One of the images from 9/11/2001 is of an American flag being flown on a pole among the debris.

Raising the Flag at Ground Zero
image from Wikipedia

In honor of that, a friend who has a pile of debris outside his home, posted an American flag among the debris.

Derrick and Gloria Campos fly the American flag
on the debris in front of their flooded home

He is at the stage of mucking out where they could power wash the floors, which he describes as, “One step closer to being one step closer to being one step closer to being clean.” It’s not an easy process.

He’s had a good attitude about this, considering. This is their third flood: Memorial Day Flood 2015, Tax Day Flood 2016, and Hurricane Harvey 2017. All of these were rainfalls beyond expectation, beyond 100-year flood levels (way beyond). They hadn’t built in a foolish place—unless you expect these crazy storms. Odds are there won’t be another for half a millennium. Yet they’ve come three years in a row.

Derrick told their story on the walls. And they had people from each day’s work crew sign a wall. Here’s the collection.

Wall from Derrick Campos's flooded home
The collection was posted on Facebook by Amy Knight

All I can say is, I admire the good attitude and resilience. It’s exemplary of who we are as Texans and Americans. We get to work, and we rebuild.

I spent a week out of town, visiting my son and his family. This was the view of our entrance when I left.

It was still a few days later before water was down to make the roads passable, and people near us were able to get back to their homes and begin the mucking out process, so they can eventually rebuild. On Saturday I drove through those streets. And this was the common sight.

It’s not going to be easy. But the bones of these houses are still good. Sometimes the insides are back to where they were 25-30 years ago, during the original building process—bare concrete floors and wall studs. But a year from now, barring further disaster, the signs of the storm will be hard to see.

This is still my favorite image from 9-11-2001, “Out of the Ashes” by artist Ken Turner. It shows our indomitable America spirit.

"Out of the Ashes" by Ken Turner

There’s no painting or iconic image yet for Hurricane Harvey. But, as a comparison, I’ll use this group of nearly 500 Mormon Helping Hands gathered yesterday morning for a brief church service and then instructions before dividing up into work crews for yet another day of helping their neighbors dig out of the debris. The photo was posted on Facebook by Melissa Willis, and captioned, "Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and get to work," quoting Gordon B. Hinckley. 

Mormon Helping Hands from the Bear Creek Stake
Center is Stake President Scott Welch; at the podium
is his counselor, President Dave Hansen

As I’m writing this, we’re waiting for news about how Florida has survived Hurricane Irma. Early reports are that the storm was not as devastating as it might have been; it had been a category 5 hurricane, but by landfall last night was down to a category 1. But that’s still a dangerous storm. So our prayers are with them today. We’re with them in spirit.

I hope the fear of storms doesn’t interfere with our lives. Or the fear of loss. Or the sadness at lost treasures—photos, heirlooms, surroundings. I hope what lasts is the memory of helping one another, of being in this together, rebuilding together.

Because United We Stand.

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