In the face of tragedy

There’s nothing better for me than a feel-good story. I love them and those are the kind I prefer writing, but that’s not possible because hard news and other things comes with the job.
With the flooding in Louisiana, I have read a few really good stories. But you have to search for them. In fact, to find much of any kind of stories about the flooding and what’s going on, you have to really search for them.
But the good stories are all around us. A dentist in Warner Robins who owns his own plane, J. Alex Bell, was part of a Pilots ‘n Paws mission to pick up dogs and cats in Louisiana and fly them to Fort Meyers, Florida.
On the first trip there were about 50 puppies, kittens and dogs and cats from St. Landry Parish, Opelousas, Louisiana. They were taken to a shelter. The trip was over 12 hours and another trip was scheduled to be made this past weekend. These animals have been misplaced by the flooding.
I also read where a Warner Robins man, Blake Fullington who owns Fullington Transport is collecting donations to transport to Louisiana. Donations can be dropped off at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins. All of us can donate something, even if it’s just a case of water.
When tragedy strikes, Americans tend to pull together and become what we used to be — united for the common good.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence have also been to the area and are helping. It seems our President is still on vacation and playing golf instead of visiting Louisiana. I remember when Presidents would stop what they were doing and immediately visit the area where a tragedy occurred.
There have been story after story about people helping people and saving people or animals stuck in the flood water. The pictures I’ve seen and some interviews, the people are just happy to be alive. They have lost everything but are still optimistic.
Things were not as overall or widespread bad in the flood of 1994 as they are in Louisiana right now and I thought it was tough to survive those couple of weeks until water service was restored. We lived in Hawkinsville at the time and the water didn’t make it up to our door but I did have to traipse around in it, climb buildings for pictures, take aerial shots from a Georgia Power helicopter and fight off mosquitoes on the river.
It was mind boggling seeing the caskets float down the river and realizing the reality of someone having to leave their home because of the flooding.
But people came together and helped each other. They rescued pets, they rescued people and once waters receded they helped the displaced people put their lives back in order. People helped others with repairs and replacement items. It’s awe inspiring to see people come together for a common cause.
That’s what Americans do in the face of tragedy. We put aside our pettiness, we forget our political differences and other issues going on or our disagreements and we roll up our sleeves and go to work helping.
That’s what we should be doing all of the time. We need to not be so quick to argue about something which doesn’t really matter in the bigger scheme of things.
No matter what’s going on, we need to drop everything and do what we can to help. It’s called community and a part of that word is “unity”. We saw it during 9/11 when everyone unified to mourn and to do what they could. It was evident after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. We’ve witnessed it after every school shooting. Most recently locally we’ve witnessed it in the loss of a young life from a wreck in Peach County.
Tragedy brings us together. It magnifies our sense of community and strikes a chord in our heart. It shows us exactly how much we depend on each other. It shows our humanity.
Following a tragedy, we see things through a larger perspective and our personal problems lose their priority in our lives. We realize how precious family, friends and our community are to us. We realize, that this tragedy could have happened to us. Petty agreements melt.
We should not need a tragedy to come together. Shedding our differences and reaching out in our communities should be something we do automatically, at any time. And we should make sure people always know how important they are to us.
This is what has made America great, solidarity on all fronts, but especially in a tragedy. United we stand should be not just a catch phrase, it should be a way of life for us.
If ever there was a time in history for us to come together for our country it is now. Regardless of what you thought of Richard Nixon, his words echo today: “To lower our voices would be a simple thing. In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words … from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds, from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another — until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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