Archived Story

Lessons learned should not be forgotten

Published 6:00am Saturday, April 28, 2012

Most of you reading this column have probably picked up a copy of our “Weathering the Storm” tribute magazine that was inserted in Wednesday’s paper.

If you have, you probably read my personal account of the things I had to deal with on April 27, 2011, so I won’t be redundant and retell those personal thoughts and feelings again.

Instead, I would like to take time to reflect on how far this county has come in a year’s time.

Just 365 days ago, this county and its people were still reeling from the worst disaster to ever take place here.

The devastation and total loss was almost unfathomable for this area and it would have been so easy — and understandable.

If people had just thrown their hands up and said, “This is just too much. I can’t do this.

I don’t know how to move forward,” and curled up in the fetal position for months until they could begin to process everything that had happened.

But instead of lying down when it would have been easiest, people got down to business.

Chainsaws and heavy equipment were immediately heard around the town of Phil Campbell and out in East Franklin as people cleared out trees and moved debris.

Neighbors helped other neighbors sort through the scattered remains of their homes in the hopes of finding something salvageable.

People from nearby cities and towns that hadn’t been hit came to the aid of strangers whom they might have only had one thing in common with — they were Franklin Countians.

Houses went up, businesses reopened, lives were rebuilt.

This county came together in an unparalleled way to help those who were hurting, and that help still continues to this day.

Even though this was the most tragic of disasters, it brought out the very best in people and made many realize that there is still a lot of good in the world if we will just stop and take the time to notice it.

Everyone keeps saying that April 27, 2011, is a day we in Franklin County will never forget, and this is true.

We won’t forget the ones we lost, we won’t forget the impact to this area, we won’t forget what all we’ve been through.

But my hope for Franklin County as we move past this one-year anniversary and continue to rebuild in the years to come is that we won’t ever forget that we know how to be good to one another.

We know how to stand by each other’s sides. We know how to move forward hand in hand, united together for a greater good.

That bond that brought so many people together in Franklin County isn’t something that should be severed when all the rebuilding and recovery is finished.

If we take anything away from the experiences over the past 365 days, I hope we all take away the knowledge of how far we can come if we are just willing to help our neighbors when they can’t help themselves, no matter what the disaster may be.

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