Water can#8217;t drown spirit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008

As the Mississippi River shows her fury to communities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, the country sympathizes for those exposed to those heartbreaking circumstances.

The river broke through a levee Tuesday and led authorities to rescue about a half-dozen people in Gulfport, Ill. Flooding there was so prevalent in that area that it closed two bridges connecting Illinois and Iowa and threatened countless homes and businesses in the region.

Lois Russell, an 83-year-old woman from Gulfport, seemed to speak for all those affected by the flooding.

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“I’m not going back after this one,” cried Russell, who was flooded out for the third time since 1965, in an interview with The Associated Press. “It was a good place to raise my seven kids. I know I haven’t lost anything that feels important because I have a big family.”

That sentiment is all too familiar to people who live along the country’s major waterways. Many people in the Tri-State area can relate to Russell, particularly if they experienced the Great Flood of 1937.

Those people know better than anyone the consequences of living in a river community. No amount of levees or dam systems can fully suppress Mother Nature.

The impact of this historical devastation along the Mississippi River will be felt for a long time to come. The important thing now is for the government to do all it can to assist those in need.

But as that river continues to rise, so too does the spirit of those who live along its shores. Amid the tragedy and destruction is a character that people in this area can relate to and see in plain view, one sandbag at a time.