Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

After Katrina

The National Guard, regular military troops, and thousands of volunteers are cleaning up and restoring New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast eastward to Mobile, Alabama, using both public and private funds. The death toll will still be large - probably over a thousand, possibly as many as 2000. That's a significantly smaller number than the 10,000 first suggested by Mayor Nagin and others in Louisiana, but still a huge number. The economic impact is staggering - in the billions at least, in the tens of billions probably, and perhaps even more.

New Orleans was a major shipping center, where materials barged down from the middle of the country along the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers were transloaded onto oceangoing vessels bound for virtually every port in the world. The rebuilding of the Port of New Orleans will be expensive and slow. Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile also require extensive reconstruction before economic life can return to the area.

New Orleans was also a major oil and gas center, with eight refineries and untold pumping stations for natural gas and petroleum products. There are hosts of chemical plants and major transportation arteries that require repair, and in some instances, complete replacement. It's going to take a long time, it's going to be hard work, and it's going to be expensive.

Most important of all, however, are families and individuals whose lives have been totally disrupted by the devastation visited upon them by Hurricane Katrina. Structures can be rebuilt - it just takes money. People's lives are different. Sometimes, they can't be rebuilt at all. Others have gaps where loved ones, friends, even pets have been gouged out of their existence. Rebuilding lives may not be as expensive dollar-wise as rebuilding structures, but it usually takes longer, and it's not easy or cheap.

Now the Gulf Coast is being threatened with another storm - Hurricane Rita. This time, those under the most severe threat are remembering what happened in New Orleans, and acting prudently. Yet will it be enough? Only time will tell.

I've been to both New Orleans and Galveston. I have friends and family throughout both Louisiana and Texas. I will be praying for their safety. When the time comes, and what their individual needs become apparent, I will once again dig into my wallet and help out with whatever I can. I am proud to live in a nation where people do those things, not only for friends and family, but even for total strangers. May it always be so!


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