Americans find inspiring unity when the chips are down
Forecasts show a slight chance that thunderstorms will dampen some planned Independence Day celebrations in the Charleston area. If they donít, temperatures in the mid to high 90s, combined with high humidity, will dampen those who venture outdoors for long stretches.
But considering the ongoing weather-related agonies of many folks across the country, Lowcountry residents should count our current climate blessings.
And all Americans should find timely inspiration in seeing how much they can count on their fellow Americans when disasters strike.
Those riding to the rescue in Colorado included four North Carolina Air National Guard crew members killed Monday when a C-130H3, based in Charlotte, crashed while on a firefighting mission in Colorado.
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, 22 deaths had been blamed on storms and widespread power outages in seven states, from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, and Washington, D.C.
Though utility workers from as far away as Mississippi, Florida and Canada battled an intense heat wave as they strived to restore power, more than 1.4 million homes remained without electricity Tuesday for the fourth straight day.
But while losing electricity for an extended period is awful, losing your home is even more devastating. And at least 346 homes have been lost in those Colorado wildfires, where dry conditions and high winds have exacerbated the crisis.
Local residents who lived through Hurricane Hugo in 1989 can sympathize with the people now suffering in communities across our nation.
The disasters and their terrible toll will prompt necessary reviews of how prepared the authorities are ó and arenít ó to handle such deadly challenges.
They also will remind all of us that we need effective plans of our own to minimize the dangers to our family when ó and after ó a natural disaster strikes.
They remind us, too, that America isnít as divided as some people say. Sure, in this age of loud, bitter and relentless political debate, the gaps separating us frequently appear vast.
Yet when the chips are down, the people of these United States still summon admirable unity across ideological and cultural lines.
So good luck to the Americans struggling to get through their ordeals in Colorado, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
And hurrah for the Americans who have rushed to their aid. They represent the best of our big-hearted country on this Independence Day.