Tropical Storm Irene dealt our region a serious blow. The destruction is evident in every direction you look. While the flooding destroyed roads, bridges and wreaked havoc with basements and yards, it also served to highlight some very important issues.
Those not directly affected by the storm may argue that it was overhyped by our elected officials and media. We were all reminded of the destruction these storms can have even in areas that aren’t generally affected by tropical storms.
The warnings are given for a reason, and we are wise to listen and be prepared. Far better to be ready than to be caught off guard when we are given such advanced notice as we had with Irene. Lives were saved, and while some might have felt inconvenienced, the millions of inconveniences don’t add up to one life. We can be thankful more lives weren’t lost.
Second, our governor reaffirmed the confidence we’ve placed in his leadership of our state. His confident leadership has provided hope to those affected. He’s made good on his promises and he has demonstrated that he cares even about the smallest of communities.
Strong words like “Either wheels are going to roll or heads are going to roll” are both comforting to those affected and motivating to the many teams working around the clock to repair our infrastructure. In his short time in office, he has displayed the type of characteristics we’ve long to see in our elected leaders. To date he has made good on the budget and now navigating through this major crisis; his leadership is a welcome sight, and he’s come into office at a time when we need a strong leader.
The other major fact that has once again been so very evident in the past few weeks goes right to heart of what this country is all about. The American spirit is alive and well and is hard at work doing what we’ve always done supporting each other when our backs are against the wall. No bickering, no questioning of someone’s motives, political views, sexual orientation, religion, no concern for who makes how much or what is ones social position. None of that, just helping hands and hearts stepping forward to help carry the load, large or small.
The freedoms we enjoy are on full display during this type of crisis. There is no more rewarding feeling then giving of oneself for nothing more than a smile and a thank you. But those opportunities don’t go away when we aren’t challenged in the way Irene challenged us. They are on display every day throughout the region, state and country whenever someone lends another a helping hand. So many good causes to help each other at times we take them for granted.
It’s exactly this type of spirit we need to be reminded of when we address the many other problems facing our country. Let’s not worry about who gets credit for what, let’s all just roll up our sleeves and work together to solve the problem. There will be time later on to argue about the finer points.
With the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 coming up this weekend, we are reminded of what acts of unselfish commitment to help a stranger are all about. So as the many around us who go about putting their lives, homes and communities back together let us all keep in mind the strong sense of unity we all felt after 9-11 and sense of accomplishment and satisfaction we feel when helping those struggling to recover from this recent devastation.
Just imagine what we could accomplish as a nation if we could act in this manner without the need to respond a catastrophic event and what a difference it would make in so many lives.
We will always be faced with tough challenges, but working together there is little we can’t accomplish when we pull our resources and act unselfishly for the good of all.
Dan Alexander is publisher and owner of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.