Ten or eleven years ago, my family went on a vacation to Florida. We chose the route to and from our destination that would allow us to drive through as many different states as possible, including Louisiana. And that was the first, and really only time since that I’ve thought about New Orleans. Until today.
As early as ten o clock this morning, I found myself sipping my coffee, watching news coverage of the 5th anniversary of Katrina, and wondering, where the heck was I five years ago, and why am I hearing more about this now than when it actually happened? I was a newly commissioned Lieutenant back then and working at the University of Nebraska as an ROTC recruiter. I’ve never been a current events buff, but how did something like that go right past me, barely grazing me in the process? I recall making a small donation to the Red Cross, and then…I don’t know, I’m ashamed to say I never really thought about it much after that.
I couldn’t believe my eyes today when I saw five-year-old interviews and footage of the wreckage. Politicians pleading through tears on live TV for help to come. A son whose mother died at the dome because she hadn’t drank water in days. They covered her in a blanket and left her sitting in her wheel chair.
I watched, trying to imagine the pain that was experienced in those few days. If pain could be measured, or weighed, it would have broken a world record that week. So today, I remember those victims who five years ago, suffered grief and sorrow I cannot fathom. I’m not giving an opinion on the issues of race, class, or politics that soured the tragedy even further, only that the tragedy happened and I’m so sorry. I’m reminded of just how blessed I have been my whole life. How I can do more than donate online when horrible disasters happen. How to open my eyes to the world around me and not be blind to things, good or bad. And just how strong the human spirit can be in overcoming so much loss and pain.