"We'll rebuild" — Rockport residents hang Old Glory on collapsed buildings to show strength after Harvey

There were demoralizing signs of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation around Rockport and Aransas Pass, Texas Sunday. Collapsed homes, businesses and roofs lying in the street covered every block, as many residents returned to see the damage for the first time.

But as some looked through the rubble of their homes and businesses to salvage what they could, they took comfort in the American flag, Old Glory. They found their flag, and hung it up on what was left of their building.

“I found it in the rubble and I thought it was fitting to put it up. It feels like we’ve been through a war,” said Bill Coxwell, who owns a cushion manufacturing company.

Coxwell said he’s optimistic about trying to rebuild his destructed business. He estimated his company won’t be able to work out of the building for a couple months.

“We’ll rebuild. It’s going to take time. But I think everybody will help everybody, and maybe that’s part of why I put the flag up,” Coxwell said.

Gail White said she was heartbroken when she first arrived in downtown Rockport to assess the furniture business where she works. The windows of the building were blown in, the ceiling leaked water and started falling down, and the warehouse down the block that stores their mattresses collapsed completely. Mattresses were thrown blocks away.

“I love this town, I love these people. We’re going to comeback. I know we are. We’re strong, we have heart,” White said. “We got to do what we got to do to bring it back.”

A local auto repair shop also collapsed. One wall stood in the middle as one side of the building laid in ruin and the other was gone. But again, the owners found an American flag in the rubble and hung it on what appears to be the storefront, leaning against the pile of rubble.

“Basically grew up and it’s never really changed. And now it’s just gone,” said Taylor Webb, son of the owner.

Webb said the shop has been in the family for 16 years and they will definitely rebuild. He estimates it could take months for them to rebuild, and years for the area to come back.

“It’s definitely not easy. It’s pretty emotional seeing all this hard work completely destroyed. There’s a few items left,” Webb said.

Voluntary evacuations were ongoing Sunday as the National Guard, Texas Guard, federal, state and local law enforcement worked to keep the peace. According to a Texas State Trooper, 200 people were evacuated Saturday night to Austin and there were still lines of buses available for residents who still wanted to leave.

Evacuees were given water and food if needed, according to the trooper. There was also an EMS station available for medical care. National Guard troops were driving around in 10-ton trucks and Humvees to help residents who couldn’t get out on their own. There’s a curfew from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.