Published November 05, 2012
Powerless. Humbling if not humiliating. inconvenient and dangerous. -- An unwanted visitor named Sandy punched the Northeast and West Virginia hard in the stomach. We doubled over for a moment and then did what Americans do best. We punched back.
Firefighters and police officers braved dark waters and downed power lines and redefined heroism once again.
Quiet heroes worked without hurrahs taking care of our sickest, our oldest, our youngest as they were held over shift after shift in hospitals and senior homes across America.
Fathers and mothers cursed the darkness, prayed for the light and reassured the kids, invoking a faith in God and country.
110 people dead. An estimated $50 billion dollars in lost homes, businesses and property. And we realized in a monster storm how small we are when we are alone. But how large we are when we work together.
I grew up in the parts of America we lost this week and pieces and parts of my past were taken with the tide that pulled our friends, our homes and sometimes our dreams out to sea.
The amusement park and piers of Seaside Heights was where my mother and father brought my brother and I and where my wife and I brought our daughters.
The Rockaway's surf where on an early morning I gave blankets on the beach to illegal Chinese immigrants yearning America's freedom who jumped into the Atlantic as their ship ran aground.
But the gaping loss was filled by the courage of American heroes. Doctors and nurses rushed premature babies down dark stairs in a mad dash to save their lives at NYU Medical Center which lost power.
First responders braved floods, flames, and fear in breezy point, Staten Island and Long Branch. We pray for those we lost and thank God for those who were saved.
For a few days I understood how 25 million unemployed Americans feel even on sunny days. Powerless.
No hope of being able to fill up their car's gas tank. But in spite of that, they are resourceful responsible confident and above all proud to be American.
As the storm recedes, and as a historic election day approaches I'm proud of an America which when the darkness blinds us, walks by faith in our exceptionalism and which proves again that when the going gets tough the tough get going.