One year later, Ivan memories still linger

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

While we all remember the horror we felt on September 11, 2001, when our enemies hurled three airplanes into symbols of our nation's greatness, we recall more recently the devastation of Ivan, the Category 3 hurricane that turned our world upside down September 16, 2004.

And even as we look back at Ivan, one year removed, we can't help but feel how fortunate we were to escape the death and destruction unleashed upon our neighbors in Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of southern Alabama by Hurricane Katrina - a storm far more catastrophic than Ivan.

Ivan toppled trees onto our homes. It interrupted our lives by severing our electricity and water supplies. For the briefest of moments we were at the mercy of nature, in all its wrath and fury. But, by the grace of God, lives were spared. Our spirits were ravaged by Ivan, but we lived to see another day.

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Not so for some of the unfortunate souls who faced Katrina.

In Gulfport, in Biloxi, in New Orleans and smaller towns dotting the Mississippi-Louisiana Gulf Coast, the body count is rising. Men, women and children, who could have been our neighbors, our friends, our family, are gone. Had Katrina turned earlier, it could have then been Butler County picking up the pieces and crying for the people lost. We will never know, and for that we're happy.

But as we pause to remember the anniversary of Ivan, let us also turn our thoughts and hearts to our fellow Americans facing the long road to recovery.

And let us keep a wary eye towards the next big storm, because it could very well have its eyes on us all.