Waiting for the media to blame President Trump for the response to Hurricane Harvey, the loss of life from the hurricane… for the very existence of hurricanes.
To focus on politics would be to lose sight of the daily heroism of our first responders, and equally important, everyday people who possess the God-given strength to face, and overcome, overwhelming adversity. As Hurricane Harvey struck Houston this past week, it is clear the devastation and loss of life will be catastrophic for so many people in the great state of Texas. But it will also show, once again, the greatness of the American people when faced with an unprecedented challenge… we shall, as always, overcome.
Harvey was a Category 4, which is a major hurricane. Some of the big, catastrophic hurricanes to hit the U.S. have included the following:
- 1900 – Galvetson, TX Hurricane – Category 4. The lack of modern technology and an early warning system resulted in the worst loss of life from a hurricane in US history, between 8,000 and 12,000 dead.
- 1928 – Lake Okeechobee (FL) Hurricane. Believed to be a Category 3, again the lack of early warning systems resulted in approximately 3,000 deaths.
- 2005 – Hurricane Katrina – New Orleans, LA – Category 3. Not the largest, but because of New Orleans being essentially below sea level… combined with inept local leadership in preparation for the storm, Katrina took 1,500 lives and was the most expensive rebuild in U.S. history to date, totaling in excess of $108 billion.
Harvey was different than most storms since it was not the predictable wind damage, but heavy rains (combined with storm surge) which caused flooding to be far worse than anticipated. Rainfall is estimated in excess of 50 inches – that’s chest deep on the average American. Harvey may end up being the most expensive rebuild when all is said and done. But we remain blessed as a country to have such resourceful and resilient citizens. Anywhere else in the world, when a catastrophe of this magnitude strikes, the death toll is usually far greater. Imagine how worse things could be without the modern technology and infrastructure necessary to deal with natural disasters. But the strongest resource we have are the American people – strong and resolute in the eye of the storm, and those not directly affected are always ready to lend a helping hand.
Those heroes are a reflection of the best in all of us, and they are already visible in the aftermath of Harvey. The “Cajun Navy” formed a flotilla heading towards Houston to lend a helping hand and to rescue thousands in need… Houston SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck rescued a mother clutching her infant child amidst a raging storm surge… Dr. Stephen Kimmel canoed to the Houston hospital to perform surgery on a teenager that needed immediate care or would have died… the scale and scope of Americans of every race and creed taking on personal risk to aid their neighbor is simply immeasurable.
Hurricane Harvey will remain in the news for awhile, and then the next headline will take its place. The people of Houston, the state of Texas, and the rain-drenched surrounding areas, will be rebuilding for years to come. Take a moment to pray for those who have lost, and those that remain in need. And remember that despite this terrible event, it could have been much worse if we lived anywhere else. Thank God we are, and remain, Americans!
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