Storms Bring Out Our Better Selves
In Moore County, individuals ranging from sheriff’s deputies to bikers mobilized to help tornado-stricken neighbors in Lee County.
At university campuses in the Triad area, students already busy enough preparing for final exams put everything aside to travel to mostly black Shaw University to assist in cleanup and repair efforts in the wake of Saturday’s devastating storms.
It has become a bit of a cliche, but it bears repeating: When the worst happens, it always seems to bring out the best in us. That oft-demonstrated aspect of human nature provides a bright spot in an otherwise dark picture of natural disaster and human suffering.
A Close Call for Moore
Through what can only be a quirk of capricious fate, Moore County was spared the death and destruction visited on several nearby areas. The writhing tangle of tornado cells that roared through on Saturday, rushing overhead as fast as a speeding car, took a moment to catch its breath on its path toward the northeast. Then it re-formed just in time to destroy a Lowe’s store and dozens of homes in Sanford.
Shattered trees and a roofless house just across the Lee County line at Tramway testify to just how close a call we had. It is tempting to say that divine providence mercifully spared us, but that would only raise unanswerable questions about what our fellow humans farther up the line did not to deserve a similar reprieve.
By all accounts, this was the most vicious tornado cluster visited upon North Carolina in a quarter-century. By the time it moved on, it had wreaked untold millions in property damage and fatally injured 24 people in our state alone. News coverage of funerals for the storm’s youthful victims tug at the heartstrings and bring tears to the eyes.
As is so often the case, this tragedy seems to have struck hardest at the least deserving — as if anybody deserved such brutal misfortune. Children’s lives were cut short by a falling tree in Raleigh. Elderly residents of an assisted-living center fell victim in poverty-stricken Bertie County.
‘Took Much From Many’
Areas like ours that escaped should be doing all they can to assist in the recovery of those that didn’t. Moore County has an admirable record in that regard, as when it poured out its heart to the distant adopted community of Bay St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina.
Ron Layne, dean of instruction at Sandhills Community College, witnessed the flowering of such praiseworthy human spirit in his Robeson County hometown of Rowland and wrote movingly about it in Wednesday’s Pilot. He told of kind souls spontaneously flocking to the storm-hit part of town with chain saws and work gloves and trucks for hauling away debris.
“The storm took much from many,” Layne wrote. “But it reminded us of our larger human purpose. And it showed us our better selves. In the end, we need each other. And on that day, maybe we got an early glimpse of Easter Sunday.”
May there be no more such disasters. But if there are, may the response to them always “show us our better selves.”
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