Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.
Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.
I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.
It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.
Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.
Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.
Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.
Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.
Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.
We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.
Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.
With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.