Here in the heart of North Carolina, we are knee deep in preparation for the threat of Hurricane Florence. I saw a great quote on Facebook yesterday: “Waiting for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle.” I had to chuckle, but this analogy is spot on. The good thing about hurricanes is we have advanced warning before they strike, so we can prepare for the worst. The bad thing about hurricanes is we have advanced warning, so we can also sit and worry about the unknown for days on end. In some ways, the waiting and worrying seems worse than whatever damage the storm may bring.
For those of you in Florence’s path, this storm is predicted to be fierce so please, please heed the advice of the experts and be prepared. Click here for the Department of Homeland Security’s hurricane preparedness toolkit. If you live in Wake County, you can sign up for emergency alerts here. As with any major storm, things can change up until the last minute so stay abreast of the latest storm warnings via the National Hurricane Center website. I pray for the safety of all of us in the storm’s path.
I chose this topic for both its literal and figurative meaning. As so many of us are distracted by the threat of Florence (as well as the other storms brewing in the Atlantic), I fear that it will overshadow the importance of today, the anniversary of 9/11. For many people, it is just another year that has past since that terrible tragedy 17 years ago. But for the families and friends who lost loved ones at the Pentagon, the Twin Towers and that grassy field in Pennsylvania, it is an annual reminder of the permanent hole left in their hearts. There is often beautiful weather just before a major storm; the same was true on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. If you recall, it was a clear day on the east coast, with bright blue skies…until those skies were darkened by the smoke and ashes from fiery attacks on our homeland. We didn’t have any warning that day, so there was no way to prepare for the events that unfolded before our eyes.
As information about the numerous victims became available in the days after the attacks, I learned of the tragic loss of several alumni from my high school. So today, like every September 11th, I pause in remembrance of these individuals who were taken too soon:
Michael Curtin (Class of 1975)
Joanne Ahladiotis (Class of 1992)
Lisa Egan (Class of 1988)
Samantha Egan (Class of 1995)
Rest in peace, knowing we will never forget. You have taught us to cherish each day as if it were our last.