Celebrating ten years of resilience

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I’ve always loved celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends.
Not only do I love a grilled hamburger, but I also enjoy fireworks at the seawall and watching the bursts of colors explode over the Gulf of Mexico.
When I was a child, my dad ensured that we had fireworks each year or we would watch a show in Waveland or Bay St. Louis.
It’s been almost 10 years since Hurricane Katrina decimated the place I call home.
There has been some progress made and much more work needs to be done.
However, this Fourth of July, Waveland will finally celebrate the holiday in a big way.
The city was recently selected as the winner of Destination America’s “Red, White and You” competition. The win means the television network will provide residents with a huge Fourth of July celebration this year.
I’m excited and can’t wait to celebrate this holiday in my hometown with the people I love.
Waveland was very nearly wiped off the map on August 29, 2005 and, 10 years later, there are still many empty lots, slabs and vacant buildings. Just last month, a Katrina-damaged road was finally repaired and paved.
However, the materialistic and aesthetic appearance of my hometown is not what matters. Recovery takes time, patience and money.
In my opinion, the most important part is the people who lived to tell the tale of what is dubbed as one of the largest natural disasters in the history of the United States.
There are many people who have yet to tell their story of survival and recovery. To them, it may not be a big deal.
They did what they had to do.
I remember finding the strength to put aside my emotions and help my family and friends when I could.
It wasn’t an easy time, but what makes my home special are the people.
During a time when giving up seemed like the best option, they didn’t. They rolled up their sleeves and sought to repair their lives.
I’ve learned a lot during my time here on Earth and still have much more to learn. Little did I know, as I waded through the waters that day in August 2005, that I, and my fellow citizens would emerge stronger than we ever thought we could be.

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