Robert A. Boyd
A dozen LDS Church volunteers — including some donning the yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” jerseys — use kayaks and canoes to evacuate the Robert A. Boyd family and belongings from their flooded Spring, Texas, home on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.
The story of a Houston woman in labor, brought to the safety of a hospital by a human chain her neighbors formed to get her to a truck through pouring rain and rising waters, finally brought me to an insight.
The images of everyday heroism and neighborly sacrifices coming from Texas and surrounding areas in recent days reflect the real America.
Most of what we were fed on news channels before the hurricane reflected something else.
I would not be so insensitive as to say we needed this to remind us who we are. The suffering of others never is needed, and thousands of people have experienced too much of it because of Hurricane Harvey. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said the number of people needing emergency shelter could surpass 30,000, including people from about 50 counties in Texas and Louisiana. As I write this, at least 20 people are known to have died. Much of the suffering is taking place away from TV cameras, in small towns and hamlets.
But the rescue of 32-year-old Annie Smith, already experiencing labor pains, stood in stark contrast to the seemingly endless pre-Harvey news accounts of pitched battles over Civil War monuments. We are so much more than that.
In truth, Americans are a complicated mix of beliefs, passions and history that sometimes collide violently. Some of us can’t seem to move beyond the events of 150 years ago or stomach a civil discussion with anyone who disagrees on fundamental political or religious platforms.
But when disaster strikes, those people are revealed for the loud outliers they are — the statistical edges on the bell curve of humanity and charity. The rest of America comes together to help, and the helpers don’t stop to ask about political affiliation or ethnic origin.
It may be useful to hear some reminders of who we are.
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