“Hurricane Katrina brought many days of struggle and sorrow; yet, we also witnessed extraordinary acts of courage and kindness.” – President George W. Bush (Office of the Press Secretary – August 25, 2006).
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina blew onto U.S. soil and became the most costly and one of the most deadly natural disasters in U.S. history. Total property damage was estimated around $81 billion, and the devastation stretched from Florida to Texas, pummeling the Gulf Coast.
Federal disaster declarations covered 90,000 square miles of the United States, an area almost as large as the United Kingdom. The hurricane left an estimated three million people without electricity. Even today, the economic, environmental, political, legal and population impact to the region is substantial.
Let’s also remember that many people “stepped up” during those frightening days. Today is a day to not only remember those who were lost, but to celebrate and thank the many brave people and unsung heroes that helped the Gulf Coast residents get through the chaos and rebuild afterwards.
Thank you to the men and women who worked diligently to evacuate the threatened areas before the storm arrived. Thank you to the first responders and good Samaritans that risked their lives during the storm to rescue those left behind. Thank you to the emergency crews and aid organizations that cared for those who lost so much in the storm. Thank you to our fellow Americans and those in other countries who donated so generously to help in the aftermath.
As we remember the victims and show gratitude to those who assisted before, during and after one of the worst natural disasters ever to ever hit the U.S., let us also celebrate the human spirit and our faith in each other as human beings.
Today, a lot of work still has to be done – “normal” will not come back to some Katrina-affected areas for many years to come. However, residents won’t give up. They continue to rebuild, to dream, and to hope.
As President George W. Bush also noted on August 25, 2006, “Those days tested our Nation, and they revealed a resilience more powerful than any storm.”
Remember that Katrina wasn’t the first disaster, and it won’t be the last. When tragedy strikes, you can make a difference by supporting aid agencies such as the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) with donations and time. We can all make a difference in each other’s lives!
Sources: wikipedia, nola.com, georgebush-whitehouse.archives.gov