BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH P. ADDABBO JR.
In the moments and months following Superstorm Sandy, I saw struggles and emotions of all types. I saw people wading through the floodwaters carrying every possession they could, I saw men and women piling their useless furniture, appliances, children’s toys and personal photos onto the curbs outside their damaged homes. I also saw the expressions of anxiety, grief and loss on the faces of every affected individual.
My district was crippled, to put it mildly. For me, the last time I remember seeing an event take such a disturbing toll on people, the last time people were so emotionally drained, was on Sept. 11, 2001.
Within the communities I represent, someone had lost someone in 9/11, gotten battered with Hurricane Irene and now may have lost their home during Sandy. It’s hit after hit, which are out of our control. But through it all, our resilience continues to shine.
And now, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and the two-year anniversary of Sandy on Oct. 29, as we remember the crises from our past, it reminds us it’s now more important than ever to work together for our future.
The city rebuilding program Build it Back has reimbursed and assisted a number of people. While I am grateful for their efforts, we know that its work is far from over.
Build it Back aid is doing more than just reimbursing storm victims; it’s giving back some stability and reassurance to people’s lives. Time and time again, I heard about my constituents spending their life savings, their kids’ college funds or their retirement money on replacing what Sandy took from them. Build it Back has the opportunity to restore these people’s lives and make the memory of the superstorm less of a nightmare. That is why it is so important as an elected official to work through the Build It Back process in quickly addressing the needs of Sandy victims.
After 9/11, our Queens community lost not their homes but their neighbors, their friends, their family. Memories like that will never fade, never change, but the support from the community never wavered. Thirteen years later, that continues to hold true. Most individuals take time around 9/11 to honor those who died, thank those who saved others and remember the tragic event as one way to understand the need to support our military in the fight against the evil and hatred of terrorism.
Tragic events such as Sandy and 9/11 remind us that we know how to band together to support each other when a situation arises. For many, the word ‘resilient’ is not just found in the dictionary, but has become a lifestyle.