Moving on after Ivan

Published 1:37 am Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By Staff
Our View
The steeple, it almost became an emblem. The steeple of First Baptist Church in Atmore, blown to the ground during Hurricane Ivan made the front page of this and many other newspapers around the country in September.
For some, perhaps it was an ironic symbol of the fury of nature, almost off-handedly called "an act of God."
Relief efforts staged around it. A governor gave a press conference in front of it. It did become, in many ways, a symbol for that time. A symbol of a community battered, but our lives intact, and not a single life lost during that vicious storm. It was a symbol of an act of God's grace as well.
But it did not become a monument.
Today, 90 days after Ivan, that storm-battered steeple is gone. We're moving on, in the direction of recovery. The steeple could have stayed where it was, but that's not the symbol of where we are today.
You don't have to look very far from where that landed to find the new icon of life in Atmore today. Just look up, and you'll see a blue tarp covering the opening where that steeple once stood.
We've become a city of a blue patchwork quilt of temporary roofs. But the blue tarps, like the steeple on the ground, are only temporary markers of where we are today.
Our lives have been interrupted. No longer must we dodge streets blocked by broken trees. Now, we often mutter to ourselves as we must dodge streets blocked by crews removing those same trees broken trees.
But that too is temporary.
Streets are being cleaned, roofs are being repaired and businesses have restocked and reopened.
We've come so far in 90 days, and we have a long way to go before life truly returns to normal in this community.
One by one, as we speak, the tarps are disappearing, a new steeple will return atop First Baptist Church. One day the stumps and debris trucks will disappear. And we can all say a prayer of thanks to the Almighty for sparing our lives, and for blessing us with neighbors and strangers who care.

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