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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 30, 2009

Flood Watch

We told ourselves it was just another weekend at the cabin as we drove out of Fargo Friday morning. A disability family, we knew the wise course was to be safely out of the danger zone of the flood of the millenium. Mayor Walaker has enough on his plate, and we are doing our part along with other evacuees so we do not become a distraction on resources.

Heartsore and muscle weary, we left the work of sandbagging and walking dike patrol and all the rest of the urgency of fighting against the river to others to sustain.

We're like the rest of the country now, watching from afar.

But in that, there is much to learn, because truly this is a teaching moment. For those of us of Fargo-Moorhead, where our city leaders and the allies they have in this battle--from FEMA to the National Guard to volunteers from all over the region--the learning curve is swift and essential.

When a permanent floodwall started leaking at the base threatening a school, news reports tell us the response was swift although the river overwhelmed for a time. Now military helicopters drop one-ton sandbags to divert the river's wearing course. A Predator drone patrols the miles-long course of sandbags looking for signs of breach or leakage.

Infrastructure that should have been built along the Fargo river corridor languished since the flooding of 1997. The urgency wasn't there for Fargo as it was for Wahpeton and Grand Forks. It should have been. Hmmmm, what could possibly have diverted all those resources from things like infrastructure since 1997....

Local officials are already at work planning for the recovery and cleanup. Even while watching the weather forecasts and the over three million sandbags that may need to withstand the crashing waves and whitecaps a winter storm could bring. And directing the teams into hot spots to strengthen the dikes.

Multi-tasking. Stepping up to the work that needs doing. Brushing aside the naysayers who prod for evacuating the whole city. Surrendering. Fargo's mayor, and Fargo, will have none of that. Lesson to be learned, America.

When the imminent danger is passed, we'll be going home. We've seen floods before and filled and hefted our share of sandbags. And because we've been richly blessed in ways no financial statement could measure by a lifetime of living in Fargo, we will give back in ways we can contribute. We'll be community activists again.

We'll help rebuild. Students and volunteers and dedicated city staff and leaders have fought to keep the river at bay. Now we'll take the city as we find it and make it better.

One city, one country...we will rebuild.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

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