We interrupt the Awesome to share an important message from Nashville...

Nashville Flood.jpg

Photo by Katie P.

Earlier this week, my friend Katie shared this photo of her neighborhood. If you couldn't tell, Katie lives in Nashville (if you had no idea Nashvegas flooded, don't fret...this landmark disaster isn't garnering the national attention it deserves, so please read on). And she's fortunate to be one of the lucky ones with minimal damage.

 
This natural disaster is easily one of the worst that we've seen that wasn't caused by a hurricane. The Cumberland River rose 12 feet above flood stage. Parts of the historic Grand Ole Opry are destroyed. The Opry Hotel? Completely underwater. We're talking about billions of dollars in damage. And we won't know the half of it until the floodwaters recede.  
 
I guess I take this tragedy to a heart a little bit more than the average Chicagoan. I spent some of the best years of my childhood not even 15 minutes away in Brentwood, TN. I was in Nashville every day for school...summer camps...dance recitals...and everything in between. This entire area of Tennessee was my home. And now, what I called home for more than a decade, is flooded. 
 
It absolutely breaks my heart.
 
I've been checking up on my Tennessee family and friends on Facebook and via text message the past few days. And two of them, shared the incredible writing and video, which you can check out after the jump (so keep on reading)...
 
 

Below is a blog post written by Patten Fuqua of the Section 303 blog. Yes, it's typically about the Nashville Predators hockey team, but it's worth taking the 5 minutes to read and soak in a reality check. 

Allow me a moment to step away from the usual voice of this website.

What I am about to write has absolutely nothing to do with hockey.

If you live outside of Nashville, you may not be aware, but our city was hit by a 500-year flood over the last few days. The national news coverage gave us 15 minutes, but went back to focusing on a failed car bomb and an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While both are clearly important stories, was that any reason to ignore our story? It may not be as terror-sexy as a failed car bomb or as eco-sexy as an oil spill, but that's no reason to be ignored.

The Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years. Nashville had its highest rainfall totals since records began. People drowned. Billions of dollars in damage occurred. It is the single largest disaster to hit Middle Tennessee since the Civil War. And yet...no one knows about it.

Does it really matter? Eventually, it will...as I mentioned, there are billions of dollars in damage. It seems bizarre that no one seems to be aware that we just experienced what is quite possibly the costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history. The funds to rebuild will have to come from somewhere, which is why people need to know. It's hard to believe that we will receive much relief if there isn't a perception that we need it.

But let's look at the other side of the coin for a moment. A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No...you didn't. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No...we didn't loot. Our biggest warning was, "Don't play in the floodwater." When you think about it...that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren't doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.

Some will be quick to find fault in the way rescue operations were handled, but the fact of the matter is that the catastrophe could not have been prevented and it is simply ignorant beyond all reason to suggest otherwise. It is a flood. It was caused by rain. You can try to find a face to stick this tragedy to, but you'll be wrong.

Parts of Nashville that could never even conceivably be underwater were underwater. Some of them still are. Opry Mills and the Opryland Hotel are, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. People died sitting in standstill traffic on the Interstate. We saw boats going down West End. And, of course, we all saw the surreal image of the portable building from Lighthouse Christian floating into traffic and being destroyed when cars were knocked into it. I'm still having trouble comprehending all of it.

And yet...life will go on. We'll go back to work, to school, to our lives...and we'll carry on. In a little over a month, I'll be on this website talking about the draft. In October, we'll be discussing the new Predators' season with nary a thought of these past few days. But in a way, they changed everyone in this town. We now know that that it can happen to us...but also know that we can handle it.

Because we are Nashville.

If you'd like to make a Random Act of Awesome, you can make a donation (no amount is too small!) to the Nashville flood victims on any of the following secure websites:

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  • ...I also just read that over the past 2 days, more than 400 inmates from the Davidson County Prison have been packaging 500 tons of sandbags to protect the city's only water treatment facility. Thanks to their efforts, Nashville has been able to prevent water contamination. It is truly amazing to me how this community has banded together...and yet no one is really helping them get the attention that they're going to need to rebuild in the days...weeks...months...years ahead. The Volunteer state needs some volunteers...so if you can, please lend a hand.

  • Another thing to keep in mind is that the floodwaters aren't the only thing causing damage. I have a friend who lives on ground high enough to escape most of the flooding, but his house was destroyed by a mudslide. The entire place is full of knee-deep mud. The area definitely needs all the help it can get right now.

  • In reply to dmwoodcox:

    So true, Dawn. I fear what the damage will look like in a few days. I've already seen some photos of the Opryland Hotel and it's downright scary.

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