A Nation on High Alert

    I was driving home from work during a gentle spring rain.  The droplets of water were hitting the windshield in a steady rhythmic beat that created a sense of calm, if not even a hypnotic serenity.  I was traveling on the familiar roads, passing the everyday landmarks, and humming to the cadence of the raindrops.  The pathway home that evening fell into the category of normal activity.  About half-way home, the intensity of the rain increased substantially.  I was immediately jerked out of the normal into a condition of high alert.

    My windshield wipers were no longer keeping pace with the drops of water.  Almost instinctively, I reached down to turn them on the highest setting.  The calming sound of the gently falling rain was replaced by the pounding of sheets of water slamming against the metal frame of the car.  Large puddles of water were rapidly forming in the streets, as the volume was too much for the drains to accommodate.  A car passing on the opposite side of the two-lane road created a wall of water that covered the left side of my car and dowsed the windshield, further obstructing my view.  I felt my whole body grow tense.  I stopped humming.  In a brief moment, things had changed. 

    The everyday life in parts of America, the ebb and flow of market activity, the daily grind of the workplace, and so many other scenarios of ordinary life in the USA have been suddenly disrupted by three devastating hurricanes within a few weeks of one another.  Hurricane Harvey almost drowned the Gulf Coast area near Houston while Irma brought category 4 and 5 level winds up the center of the whole state of Florida.  This week, Marie struck our neighbor to the south; Puerto Rica has been devastated.

    As a nation, we have been suddenly propelled into a condition of heightened attentiveness and alertness.  From those events until now, we have been in a rainstorm of alerts calling for goods, services, emergency aid, and life-sustaining supplies.  Our secure passage to safety and shelter can only be guaranteed by a nation alerted to these cries for help that beckon for our attention.

    This state of high alert is not just a demand on those who are paid through governmental offices. Circumstances are temporarily requiring that all of us come to an increased sense of awareness.  Heroic actions are being undertaken by ordinary folks who are willing to heed the call.  In many cases, friends and family members have been affected and are now in the process of recovery.  We willingly attend to the needs of those loved ones as they rebuild.  Even though charity organizations are present on the scene, we can all lend a helping hand as we donate from an open heart.

    We cannot let the burden of this torrential downpour of problems rest only on the shoulders of others.  This great nation is great because it is a common union.  And, as our history proves, we are united during stormy seasons as well as on sunny days.  We can weather this tempest.  We can support our nation and those who restore it.  We can declare with one voice of faith, “In God we trust.”  And as the rain ends and we once again enjoy a calm sky in our beautiful land, we will reflect upon the ability of our country to stand together at high alert, thereby ensuring for ourselves and our future generations the blessing of a safe and thriving USA.  God Bless America!


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~Dr. Patti Amsden