America Shares Grief with Minneapolis – Many Miracles amid the Mayhem

Top fire fighter, Chief Jim Clark of the Minneapolis Fire Department exclaimed that the first miracle was the low death toll. Clark said, “We were surprised that we didn’t have more people seriously injured and killed, I think it was something of a miracle.” With upwards of 500 cars crossing the bridge at any given moment that qualifies as a miracle for most of us.

Other stories are emerging even as rescuers are still combing the rapidly moving waters of the murky Mississippi. Divers rushed to the scene with hopes that if they responded quickly they might find victims who found ways to survive in pockets of air or that were only partially submerged in their vehicles. Although that hope was deferred they are still risking their lives in the dangerous waters to help account for the casualties and provide accounting for victims families.

Hundreds of ordinary citizens were said to have shown up immediately and offered to help in rescue work. Some didn’t wait and were found trying to assist anyone of the survivors they could. Minnesotans can be proud of the University of Minneapolis students who also showed up in numbers and offered help. Most were asked to stay clear when professional rescuers arrived for their own safety but their effort will not go unnoticed.

Some witnesses said that when the bus load of 58 children was seen teetering on the edge of a collapsed section of the bridge it took their breath away. Similarly breathtaking was the news that all 58 passengers escaped unharmed.

One 9 year old girl called her father from the bus on her cell phone. When interviewed by Fox News the little girl seem more composed than her father who was visibly shaken and looked like he was fighting to hold back the tears.

The grandmother of two African American school girls, Samarra aged 6 and Josette aged 4 said that even though the girls’ faces were disheveled and dirty when she first saw them “It just had a glow like it was an angel. It just brought ’em back to us.”

Words like “It was a miracle” or “I thank God he helped me” were commonly heard among survivors. The immediate reactions of the survivors sounded more like a time of testimony in a church than interviews with disaster survivors.

The Salvation Army was on hand immediately along with other organizations and the Southern Baptist relief unit stationed in Minnesota offered its help as needed. The Red Cross wasted no time getting on the scene and conducting a blood drive and calling for contributions to aid victims’ families through the “Twin Cities Chapter of the American Red Cross.” Blood drives are being conducted by the Memorial Blood Centers of Minnesota.

First Lady Laura Bush gently tried to steer the attention of Minnesotans away from the calamitous to the consoling. In a statement issued after visiting the site of the disaster on Friday August 3, 2007 only hours after the bridge collapsed she said, “people have been encouraged and their spirits lifted after hearing “so many good stories.”

Laura Bush, who is heralded for possessing some of the most powerful maternal instincts in any First Lady in our history, threw her attention on nurturing what remains and not centering on what is lost. No reports indicate that her visit and her words were anything but consoling and were welcomed.

President Bush also visited the site to assess the damages and to see how the Federal Government can help in recovery efforts. In a brief but meaningful statement President Bush called for prayer when the news first reached him during a cabinet meeting. He said he thanked fellow Americans that were lifting up those involved in prayer.” Many Americans know we have a praying President and most are thankful that we have a leader that calls upon God to help those he is charged with governing.

The Minnesota Twins baseball team was saddled with a perplexing situation at the time of the bridge collapse. The game against the Royals was scheduled to start only one hour after the bridge collapsed. Not wanting to put twenty five thousand fans back out on to city streets the Twins decided to go on with the game. Although sagging in the league this season the Twins scored a different kind of win on the evening of the I-35W bridge collapse.

The team Minnesotans love, which has produced greats such as Harmon Killebrew lost to the Royals on that fateful day but won a bigger game in the hearts of Minnesotans and all Americans when they tastefully called for a moment of silence for the victims and rescuers at the I-35W site. The moment of silence was announced in the Metrodome over the public address system and it is reported that you could hear a pin drop in the deep silence produced by the 25,000 fans. Hats off to the Minnesota Twins!

The catastrophe in Minnesota amplifies the noted enigmatic nature of almost all American citizens. It is best summarized in the familiar adage, “when they’re bad, they’re very bad – but when they’re good, they’re very good.” Perhaps the one tragedy that seems greater than the tragedy in Minneapolis is that Americans don’t often get so good until after a tragedy.

Let it not be said that this old gospel preacher did not appendage an article of this kind without a scriptural admonition. It is carefully chosen and is meant to remind Americans that when alleviating suffering, grief and affliction you are never more close to God.

“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness be as the noon day.” Isaiah 58:10 KJV