A great city can endure

Published 11:56 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

By Staff
Those words are by Walt Whitman, perhaps the greatest American poet. This poem could very much apply to the city of Atmore over the past 10 months.
Two hurricanes have come and gone; homes and businesses have been damaged, repaired, and then damaged again; and an entire city is questioning why this continues to happen.
The fear was tangible throughout the city all week about the damage Hurricane Dennis might cause, and for many their worst fears were realized.
With Hurricane Ivan still fresh on everyone's minds, people were infinitely better prepared to handle the storm and its aftermath, but even the best preparation can't prevent some of the damages that occurred.
Now that the storm has passed, it is once again time to begin the process of rebuilding. Crews have come from far and wide to assist in the meantime, providing hot meals, ice, water, and other necessities until power can be restored.
It is important that we take the time in the next few days to thank the many men and women who have come to Atmore to provide assistance in our time of need. While some, like the Alabama National Guard and Alabama State Patrol, were ordered to do so; others, such as Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteers, are taking time out of their lives to help us.
But back to what our friend Walt had to say. To many, these hurricanes seem to have reduced our city to a few ragged huts.
Damage is widespread, and many houses that escaped Ivan have now been damaged themselves. Several businesses, such as the Dollar Store with Auto Parts (formerly Jerry's Discount Auto) are facing major repairs for the second time in a span of a few months.
A drive through town will leave one thinking he can't go anywhere without seeing a downed tree, a wind-damaged house, or worse.
I'm sure many are wondering if they should move away from the area due to its vulnerability to hurricanes (the thought has crossed my mind).
Even if this city is only a few ragged huts right now, it has the greatest men and women. I have seen more people coming together to help each other over the last few days than I ever dreamed. Everywhere you turn, neighbors are helping to chop trees that have fallen in yards, or patching up roofs, or doing anything they can to be of assistance. I can recall last year many neighborhoods banding together to grill excess food they had in the freezer. I'm sure that's going on this year, as well (and if anyone would like to invite me I'd be glad to come).
So while things may look bleak, just look around you and see all the love in this city right now. Take the time to count your losses, and then come out help be a part of the rebuilding process.
While Atmore may not look great right now, it is still the greatest city in the world.
Tim Cottrell is a staff reporter for the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.

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