A view from my side.
I cannot let the current events go without comment. The devastation is truly beyond comprehension. Most people in the US have never seen the total destruction of an area. Where homes and businesses once stood are now piles of rubble. Where children used to go to daycare you will find a slab foundation, the remains of cubbies and twisted, mangled kindergarten chairs. From the Mississippi state line all the way through Alabama to the Georgia state line you will see a path of destruction.
I am sure you have seen the photos, either online or on tv, most likely both. There is no need to post any of those here. But I did want you to see the path of destruction this storm took. We hear mostly about Tuscaloosa, but if you get a map of Alabama and follow that line, you will see hundreds of communities representing thousands of lives that were affected by that one storm. Storms like that one do not happen every year and Alabamians will always remember where they were the day this one struck our state.
Also, do not forget that this was simply the afternoon version. Storms had struck earlier in the day, hitting Cullman in the morning and wreaking havoc on the medical center there. Here in the Birmingham area, damage from straight line winds at 5:00 a.m. had already taken out power lines, phone service, cell towers, etc. Schools closed almost as soon as they opened, sending students back home as they drove onto campus and simply turning the buses around to take the children back home.
Later in the day, as the afternoon storm cut a path through the Pleasant Grove area of Birmingham, 25 miles or so south, two smaller tornadoes went through Shelby County. I sat in my living room, watching the radar on the local news channel as they tracked the storms just to the south of me. The part of town I live in was literally sandwiched by the storms. We had some wind and some rain, but nothing like our neighbors to the north and south. And from here, the storms tracked northeast across the rest of our state and through Georgia and even further east.
Help has poured in from all over the state and the country. We are a resilient bunch, we southerners. But we know when to accept the help of others. Gracious and thankful, those in need acknowledge and gratefully accept the water, the children’s clothing, the food, and the strong hands to remove the rubble. The rebuilding will take years. But it will happen and we will get on with our lives.
I am thankful to be one of those with no damage to my property. But it will always affect my spirit and the spirits of those living here. Having lived through a few tornadoes and floods in my day, I can relate to those in the devastated areas. But the damage to my house has always been slight and the repairs simple in comparison to what so many are going through now.
Keep our citizens in your thoughts as you go through your days ahead. Events like this make us appreciate the oft quoted phrase…”there, but for the Grace of God, go I.”