Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flood of '08: Looking Back

It’s been one year now since my base of operations, Cedar Rapids, IA, was hit by one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. It seems hard to believe so much time has past. In a lot of ways, the city has recovered admirably; in a lot of others, not so much.

A little less than a year ago, downtown Cedar Rapids looked like this:

This was the parking garage across the street from our old call center, and was actually taken somewhere around the Monday or Tuesday after the flood, several feet below the levels they reached the previous week.

I’ve been working my call center job for a year now in an old bed store. It is not exactly the best accommodations, but the company is slowly but surely working on a new facility. Honestly, I don’t have it nearly as bad as hundreds of others who are still waiting for government buyouts on their houses. It is a mess, and honestly it saddens me just how much a bureaucratic mess our leadership on the local, state, and federal levels has become.

Even so, it could have been worse. Iowans have a history of coming together in tragedy, and we did that admirably last June. That unity can still be seen in rebuilding efforts across the state.

So, I will join in commemorating the loss of property, life, and pursuit of happiness that occurred a year ago. And I will continue to show my support, just as I will encourage everyone else to give. Here’s a simple way. A local radio station has produced an MP3 that sets some of the news coverage from the station to music. “Devastation” can be listened to at the site, but if you download it for the ridiculously low price of 99 cents, every ounce of that money gets donated to local relief organizations. It’s not often you can help humanity for less than a dollar and get an interesting piece of history in the process.

Like him or not, I think President Bush summed up the situation perfectly in his own rambling way when he visited the devastation in mid-June: “Often times you get dealt a hand you don’t expect to play and the question is not whether your going to get dealt that hand the question is how you’re going to play it and I’m confident the people of Iowa will just play it really well.”

Thanks for reading.

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