Katrina victims two years later: A monument to our misplaced national priorities

Published 11:04 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By Staff
This morning's headlines:
"Bush in New Orleans for Katrina anniversary"
"Bush to ask for $50 billion more for war"
One can't help but wonder what that $50 billion, undoubtedly headed for Iraq, could do for New Orleans.
For that matter, what could it do for Michigan?
Two years ago, Katrina roared ashore and devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Today, the ruins that remain – and those are many – are our national shame.
They stand as a monument to our country's misplaced priorities.
It is time for our nation to opt for diplomacy over war.
It is time for our nation to focus on the needs of its citizens – from rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure to educating our children and making certain they have access to shelter, food and health care, to providing meaningful economic assistance for research in science and technology.
It is time our leaders, who we have hired by casting our ballots, got back to the basics of putting its citizens first and do some meaningful work in the near future to address our collective needs.
From today's New Orleans Times-Picayune
Hurricane Katrina transformed our lives and our community in ways that are still unfolding, as people continue to mourn and struggle to move on.
The second anniversary of Katrina's Louisiana landfall brings back the trauma of those days and what was ripped away – especially the lives of the 1,500 Louisianians who perished in the storm and its aftermath.
The destruction of homes, schools, places of worship and places of commerce has left gaps, and our emotional landscape is also riddled with holes. Families are enduring lengthy separations. People grieve the departure of coworkers and neighbors.
But an accounting of our losses tells only part of the story – it's also important to recognize the hard-won gains. The families who have returned, the businesses that are up and running, the houses that have been restored are all critical steps toward recovery.
We still have a long way to go. Two years isn't nearly long enough to heal from the wounds inflicted by Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federally built levee system. Many families are still living in FEMA trailers, still waiting for a Road Home check, still looking for an affordable place to live, still struggling to pay for insurance.
But the past two years have taught us something about our own strength and resilience, and that's reason enough to look forward in hope.