Remembering April 27

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Personal
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As with any tragedy or devastating event, the important thing for people affected directly or indirectly is to never forget. I admit when I came to Alabama last August I felt a bit detached from what happened on April 27, 2011. It’s hard to understand suffering and people’s pain when you’ve never experienced it for yourself. I sympathized with people when they talked about it, but it never hit home for me.

Photo courtesy of The Birmingham News

Driving from my apartment to campus or on McFarland Boulevard, I could sense what had happened, but I had nothing to compare it to. I didn’t know what Tuscaloosa was like before the tornado. I wasn’t familiar with the landscape, businesses, or the people. It wasn’t until I began talking to people for various assignments and projects that I started to understand. Now, when I see an empty lot, I think of what structure was there before the tornado came and destroyed everything. When I get emails from service learning centers or various organizations about helping with recovery efforts, I realize that the struggle continues.

After speaking with people whose homes have since been rebuilt, it is still a difficult process of going from the familiar to the unknown. It’s tornado season again, and although Tuscaloosa has always had tornado warnings, people are more cautious now. They still don’t feel secure, even with new homes and storm shelters. I can’t imagine having that unsettling feeling everyday.

But I believe in the sense of community in this town. I’ve witnessed it first hand with people coming together and from all over the country to help and offer support. When dealing with tragedy, it starts there. A year later we can’t forget the names of the victims and the grief their families still endure. A year later we can’t forget about the survivors and their haunting memories. A year later we can’t forget that Alabama still has a long way to go. A year later we must remember that it could’ve happened to any one of us.

Here is my website on one Tuscaloosa community that suffered from the tornado on April 27, 2011. May it be a tiny contribution in informing people of what happened here.

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