(Photo by the Pensacola News Journal)
No, but he sure looks like it, doesn't he? That's a man walking down Perdido Key, near the State line between Florida and Alabama, after Hurricane Ivan. Ivan news was old news seven months ago, but it's still haunting us even if just indirectly.
Thank god, although darned close, we weren't in Ivan's path. Unfortunately my sister, and her in-law's beach house where my husband and I were married last year, were. My sister's house suffered moderate damage... but thankfully, and unlike many many of her neighbors, the historic home she had worked for years to restore was spared. The beach house was torn apart but still standing, and we were told initially that it was salvageable. That was not the case for much of the Key it stood upon.
I have seen recent photos of the Key and much of it remains in ruins, even 7 months later. People all over the area including inland Pensacola are struggling as they await insurance settlements and building permits. The tsunami in South East Asia it was not, but judging from the photos I've seen, the landscape bore a close resemblance. Huge buildings still lay in ruins grimly bearing the spray paint badge of those who died there given to them by search and rescue teams in the days following the storm, many houses are gone off their foundations to where no one knows, and lakes and ponds remain poluted with the debris of an event everyone else in the world has forgotten. We are not a third world country, and yes, many of the beachside homes were million dollar mansions, but there were many, many residents in the area whom still cannot afford to repair their homes.
This is my summation after having kept tabs on the area for seven months. I've not been back since our wedding over a year ago, but the photo timeline tells a disturbing story although to the credit of the area, a lot of recovery has taken place. The house we were married in remains torn open to the elements and looters. After finding out today that the site of our beautiful wedding will, after all, be demolished, I feel compelled to ask the many Americans that come to these forums to remember those in need at home.
Please visit Rebuild Northwest Florida and watch their compelling video to understand more. It's a very sad, sad story. If anyone who visits here is from the area, please give your views on the updates on the recovery efforts around you. It is a subject near to my heart.