Two years ago today, I remember watching with the rest of America and the world as the rescue efforts in the Gulf Coast regions starting happening. I remember watching as trees around my home were cleaned up. I remember watching a neighbor use a truck to pull his 20 foot pine tree back into it's hole and tie it to the fence trying to save it... it worked!! I remember the smell of freshly cut pine trees everytime I stepped outdoors for weeks because of all the fallen trees! I remember watching as "refugees" fled to our area, Birmingham, AL, and found places to live. I remember watching as school boards lifted restrictions and let them place their children in our schools so their lives could "continue". I remember watching as our store shelves sat empty in many places due to things being bought up and sent to the coast, the shelters, and in some cases because the plants manufacturing and shipping things out, were destroyed or under water. I remember watching, feeling lucky that we were far enough north in the state that we were spared the brunt of Katrina, and guilty that I wasn't doing more to help. I rememeber watching as organizations around the country came to full alert to jump in and help. I remember watching as the gathering area of our church filled up with supplies to be sent down with the team from our church and many others in our area. I remember watching and feeling guilty that we were leaving the area to head to WV for Labor Day weekend and my BIL's wedding, like we were somehow abandoning the south in their time of need. I remember watching and fearing that we wouldn't be able to find gas or afford it if we did. I remember getting gas put in our car, going in to pay, and before we pulled out of the parking lot, hearing the bells going off indicating that there was no gasoline left in that gas station. I remember the signs saying not to bother, because their gas was already gone!
As the weeks and months unfolded we were horrified as we watched and heard first-hand stories (not rumors) of the way these people were treated by our government! I've got pictures taken by Smart Guy of the devistation, the people, the broken lives, and the disgusting filth they had to live in. Some of those pictures have people wearing masks while tearing out walls because as soon as the water went down, everything around them was full of toxic mold! I also have pictures of many, many people working together for a common cause. These people slept, ate, used the restroom, and showered in primitive conditions. Tents, porta-potties, gas stoves and grills, some porta-showers (for the luckier areas), dotted the gulf coast as people moved into them because their homes were destroyed and because people were arriving to give a hand. People from all over arrived to help.
Unfortunately it was not enough. There are still many, many people without suitable homes to live in. There are many people who still have not returned home. There are many people who want to rebuild, but can't because insurance premiums have been allowed to go thru the roof. There have been many people who have had their homes foreclosed on in the midst of the worst times of their lives because they had to live somewhere else, pay for that, and couldn't afford to pay for the home they owned but couldn't live in.
Why is it that somehow our country has come up with billions and billions of dollars to continue to take care of someone else's "business", but when it comes to protecting the lives of OUR OWN IN THIS COUNTRY, the money seems to have gotten lost? I don't get it!!!