Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy of biblical proportions

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Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy of biblical proportions

By Theda Kleinhans Reichman

This past week the news has been filled with a true-life disaster more compelling than any fictional story on film or DVD. Torrents of rain, up to 20 inches or more in a time span of just one day, has devastated Houston and neighboring areas. This storm of biblical proportions suddenly  brought the country together as one as the National Guard and other military personnel joined in the efforts to evacuate countless thousands.

Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy of biblical proportions

By Theda Kleinhans Reichman

This past week the news has been filled with a true-life disaster more compelling than any fictional story on film or DVD. Torrents of rain, up to 20 inches or more in a time span of just one day, has devastated Houston and neighboring areas. This storm of biblical proportions suddenly  brought the country together as one as the National Guard and other military personnel joined in the efforts to evacuate countless thousands.

As streets became rushing rivers, helicopters flew over the city rescuing  residents clinging to the rooftops of their flooded homes. Fellow Texans arrived in boats, large and small, to carry people to safety. The country became as one–fellow Americans looking out for one another.

The countless number of boats of all shapes and sizes was reminiscent of WWII when hundreds of British forces were stranded on the beach at Dunkirk

When word reached England,  men came in their boats, from pleasure craft to  fishing boats, to ferry the stranded military men to safety before German forces arrived. In times of war and disaster the common man rises to heroic stature to help save their countrymen and women.

Such was the case in devastated Houston.

Tragedy also struck those who came to help in the evacuation effort. A policeman was one of the first to die as he rushed to work to assist in the relief effort and several men were electrocuted when their boat hit a downed power pole as they came to save their fellow Houstonians. Everyday people became heroes.

As people were forced to evacuate their homes they left with their children, pets and what few belongings they could salvage. Despite their losses, so many expressed gratitude as they were saved from the rushing water that turned streets into raging rivers.

One particularly upsetting situation involved elderly women sitting waist high in water as they waited for help. Yet in the midst of it all, one woman sat patiently knitting.

Helicopters, piloted by the military, rescued many from rooftops and the water below as strong winds buffeted their choppers. Still they were able to hoist men, women and children into their craft and fly them to safety.

Despite the devastation all around, there were also a few moment that made us smile. A case in point was a dog walking in the downpour carrying a bag of dog food in his teeth. Neighbors knew the old dog well and returned him home to his family.

As the relentless rain continued to pour down and flood waters started to reach rooftops, people continued to help one another, bringing them to shelters which soon became filled to capacity. But through it all the country came together as one. Suddenly the political animosity and rancor that has divided us for so long seemed to disappear and our divided nation joined as one in a united effort to aid fellow American in their time of great peril and need.

All of us watching this terrible drama unfold felt a strong desire to reach out and help in our own way. Telethons are being organized to raise money and the wealthy, from movie stars and celebrities to the president have  donated millions. We too can be a part of the healing by donating money to reputable charities and organizations like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross or even by donating at houses of worship. No donation is too small. If we all help the money will mount up.

Walmart has partnered with the Red Cross to amplify personal donations. For each dollar you donate to the American Red Cross through Walmart.com, Walmart will donate twice the value through September 6, 2017. Walmart will match each dollar of your donation with a contribution of $2 worth of cash or needed merchandise to the American Red Cross, up to $10 million.

While Harvey has wreaked havoc on Houston, it has also brought us together as one in our desire to help —because we are all Americans first and foremost.

 

Theda K. Reichman is the entertainment editor of the GVN.

 

 

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