Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Are We Only United Through Tragedy?

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted in over a year.  I have so many thoughts, so many words, so many things that I want to write about.  Work gets busy.  Life happens. Time slips away. 

Today I need to write.  The words need to come spilling out.  Today has been a day of reflection, in several ways.  The 17th anniversary of the attacks.  Has it really been that long?  It doesn't seem possible.  It seems like it just happened yesterday.  Everything is so vivid, so fresh. 

I've been in Charleston South Carolina for the past few days, travelling on business.  Going out to dinner last night, we drove a street lined with American flags, flapping proudly in the wind.  They looked beautiful!  So proud!  So majestic!

My thoughts turn to those who lost their lives, especially the first responders.  I think about those brave souls on Flight 93.  They sacrificed their lives to save so many more.  I think about the families, those who lost someone so special.  Someone they loved with every bit of their heart.  A hole that won't heal.  A pain that will never subside.  A scar left forever.  I think about those who are still here, dying a slow and painful death because they were there, working at the pile, day after day.

I think of how our country came together.  Everyone was kind.  Everyone was thoughtful.  We had each other's backs.  We were one huge family.  We truly were united.  There was no yelling.  No name-calling.  No arguing.  We unabashedly loved our country and we supported our president, no matter our party. 

It's so opposite of how things are now.

I had to leave Charleston a little early.  This morning's presentation was cancelled.  My hotel was closing at noon.  Yes, a hotel was closing.  The city is under order to evacuate.  Hurricane Florence is on her way.  She is big.  Devastatingly big.  And she is gaining strength by the hour.   

It was strange driving on I-26.  The east-bound lanes, the ones heading to the coast, were closed.  It was odd.  There was no traffic coming towards me, save the occasional police car.  I saw local police vehicles from various cities and towns, county police, state troopers and fire departments.  They were positioned sporadically in the medians and at all entrance ramps on the east-bound side.  No one is heading east.  Police cars blocked the ramps leading to I-95.  How many miles of that interstate are closed?

At noon, all the east-bound lanes will have west-bound traffic.  It's the Hurricane Evacuation Route.  You've seen the blue signs with the hurricane symbol. Suddenly, they're so real.  All highways, all interstates will lead traffic away from our eastern coast.

It was very thought-provoking, seeing all of these first responders in a place of impending disaster.  Of all days to see so many, so many of those who dedicate their lives to protect others, to see them on September 11th.

As I neared Atlanta I saw a convoy of power trucks headed east.  I don't know where they were from.  Probably some place far away.  They are getting ready for the clean-up.  Getting ready to help those in need.

Once again, Americans will come together to help each other.  People won't be yelling at each other, telling one another how "wrong" they are.  People won't be judging or hating each other.  They will be helping each other.  In the aftermath of disaster and tragedy, no one will see color, social status or religion.  There will only be neighbors helping neighbors.

That's my America.  I wish it could be like this all the time, but without the disaster, the tragedy or the tears.

Stay safe my friends. 

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