Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Connie Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on August 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (COURTESY PHOTO / David J. Phillip)
For a nation whose citizens have been at each other’s throats lately on a variety of issues, it’s sad that it took a disaster like Hurricane Harvey to bring us together, but it also gives hope that the “American spirit” that we cling to still exists.
My hometown in South Central Texas was too far west to feel direct effects of Hurricane Harvey, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hit home.
Last weekend my little brother’s high school traveled to the small Texas town of Refugio, where the hurricane’s 130 mile per hour winds affected every building. Smaller towns like Refugio aren’t getting as much media attention as Houston, but the damage is so bad it will likely take them years to recover.
My brother’s school delivered donations of water and non-perishable food. My dad and brother spent the day clearing trees, brush and debris, all while fighting off swarms of mosquitos in the late summer heat.
What amazed me is that my dad and brother had already traveled to Houston the day before to help victims there. They grilled up 1,000 pounds of hamburgers to feed Harvey victims and volunteers who had no other options. Then they drove five hours back home before heading to Refugio the next day because all the hotels were full on the coast.
It’s not just Texans who have come together.Americans that have no connection to Hurricane Harvey victims are donating their time and money to help people recover.
In a time where many are struggling to define what it means to be an American — and how to show that patriotism the right way — our nation’s response to the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey shows us that we can come together despite our differences, and that makes all the difference.