The people's voice of reason

Tears and Laughter: Alabama is heartbroken for Florida after Hurricane Michael's destruction

As I write this, there are people in the southeast corner of the state who are still cleaning up downed trees and are without power. There are farmers in the wiregrass region who have suffered extensive losses. Our hearts go out to all of them, and to our neighbors in Georgia and the Florida panhandle who were in the direct path of Hurricane Michael.

Floridian columnist and author, Carl Hiaasen, has long confessed that a huge portion of his work has been inspired by actual headlines out of his home state. In his endearing way he has written at length about how Disney has grown far beyond a theme park in Orlando.

Maybe Florida is a magic kingdom of sorts. Maybe that is why there is

always the sense of being on the edge of something exciting happening there. I have never met anyone that didn’t like Florida. If you don’t like Florida, you aren’t doing something right. Try visiting their Fountain of Youth.

A huge portion of Alabama looks forward to Friday afternoon so they can clock out at work and check into Florida.

It is where we go.

It is where we went growing-up.

It is where we all honeymooned. And second honeymooned.

It is where we vacation with our kids, even after they are grown.

It is where we work to have second homes, and where we aim to retire…whether in truth or just in attitude.

Florida plays a leading role in most Alabamian’s best memories. We would not be us without them, and when one state loves another so completely, one can’t hurt without the other crying. All of our hearts are broken for the Florida residents in the path of Michael. For those who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, security, and livelihood.

Entire neighborhoods and towns have been destroyed. Portions of the shoreline have been altered. For so many people, everything familiar no longer exists.

Alabama is not new to the wrath of hurricanes. We know those most affected are not watching the after coverage. They are living hour by hour, day by day, and all they can see it what is before them. But they know we have all been watching, as they likely watched with similar heartbreak when past storms hit here.

When the first television crews were able to reach the people on the ground in the hardest hit areas, they asked what the specific immediate needs for residents there were, and the answer was a request for everyone’s prayers.

It will take time.

It will take a long time.

There are people who haven’t even found hope yet. There are people who haven’t been able to sift through what remains. But there is still magic in Florida. In time, they will feel as if they are on the edge of something wonderful happening again. Until then…may we donate as we can, volunteer if we can, and continue to diligently pray as they requested.


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