• 59°

Imagination cannot capture true tragedy of Katrina

Watching the TV in recent days I have come to the stark realization that some horrors dwarf even the most profound imaginations.

The tragedy and depths of human suffering witnessed with the ongoing coverage of Hurricane Katrina has left me forever changed.

I was always the kid who could imagine fantastic worlds populated with heroes and villains, beasts and beauties, and much more. So to say I had a vivid imagination would be like saying Christopher Columbus went on a little boat ride.

Long before I ever became a journalist, I was fascinated by the basic concept of storytelling. Whether found in novels, comic books, movies or magazines or just told across the fence, the art of weaving interesting and entertaining tales was something I loved and couldn't get enough.

As such, I always sought out new experiences to expand my horizons and provide ample fodder for stories and growth. The recent carnage caused by Katrina has really shown me that some things only need to be experienced on TV.

I cannot imagine what the millions of people in Mississippi and Louisiana must be going through right now as they cope with the loss of all the things we take for granted: electricity, clean water, transportation, telephones, food and the ability to reach out to your loved ones at any time with the push of a few buttons.

Co-worker Kevin Cooper has shown his true mettle this week as he has continued to maintain his focus on work while many of his friends and family in Mississippi remain without these basic luxuries. Fortunately, none of Cooper's family has been harmed by this tragedy.

Admittedly, Kevin's mind has been hundreds of miles away from here, but that has not kept him from doing what was needed here at the office. This type of perseverance displayed by Kevin and countless other Americans this week shows one of the things that is so great about our nation - we will never quit; we will never surrender.

The rest of the world can say what they want about Americans and our country, but our tenacity and grit stacks up with or surpasses any country in the world.

Not since 9/11 has America witnessed such widespread tragedy. Though the two events hardly compare, the levels of human suffering and loss of life hit home just as deeply.

We must look deep inside ourselves to find the answers that help us come to terms with such tragedy.

For me, one plus of having such a strong imagination is that I can already visualize my fellow Americans rebounding from this natural disaster and rebuilding their homes and their communities better than ever.

Capturing the heart of American spirit doesn't take much imagination at all. Just turn on your TV and you can see for yourself.

Michael Caldwell is the managing editor at The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.