|People in Atlantic Beach NC watch and wait for Hurricane Earl|
Thankfully, the only hurricane I witnessed in North Carolina on that deployment was the Category 4 storm of phone calls to my BlackBerry. Voracious news networks were clamoring for a slice of hurricane action. For those that know their hurricanes, Earl dissipated to become a tropical storm that, blessedly, reaped far less damage than predicted. Many homes along the North Carolina coast were still flooded. But Earl and his accompanying media entourage quickly died down.
|Locals gather in an Atlantic Beach bar for a "hurricane party"|
But, at times like these, Americans never fail to impress me with their resourcefulness and their steadfastness. NYU hospital nurses carried sick babies down nine flights of stairs while pumping them with oxygen, to evacuate them from a flooding building. Firefighters tackling a huge blaze consuming 80 homes took to boats to rescue people from the burning buildings. And the Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cut through politics, at what is an intensely political time, to praise the President's "outstanding" response to the disaster.
When nature strikes, she shows no regard for class, race or political persuasion. So, Unity seems to me to be an excellent place to see out a storm. Americans get that, and take considerable pride in putting aside traditional divisions to help total strangers. If I am less fortunate the next time a hurricane comes my way, there's honestly no place I'd rather be or people I'd rather be among.