Alabamians will recover from Ivan

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 24, 2004

Commentary by Gov. Bob Riley

A wise man once said that what lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

After seeing Alabamians respond to Hurricane Ivan, in my heart, I know this is true.

Email newsletter signup

While Ivan rocked our state, it did not shake our will.

As the storm approached and left its path of wreckage and ruin, we did what people normally do.

We worried and we prayed.

But, we also took action.

Those with responsibilities during the storm performed their duties with a commitment and composure that we should all appreciate.

Law enforcement officers went door-to-door to evacuate people and get them out of harm’s way.

National Guard troops got people to shelters and even helped deliver a baby as the storm hit.

Power company crews from across the state and the nation worked around the clock to turn the lights back on as quickly as possible.

Dedicated state employees worked through the storm to offer assistance, and the media did an excellent job relaying warnings and information to the public.

And while I am very grateful for these actions, it was the cooperation of our citizens that overwhelmed me most.

Neighborhoods came together to help each other in ways that bind communities for life, and each of us can recall remarkable acts of compassion and charity.

I learned of a man who left his home to help his neighbor stabilize a tree that had been planted in memory of a loved one.

I saw thousands of volunteers handing out ice and water to their fellow citizens.

And as long as I live, I will never forget the woman who came dressed as a clown to entertain and comfort frightened children at a shelter.

In its purest form, the spirit of Alabama shown through the storm.

Hard times don’t create heroes.

It is during the hard times when the “hero” within us is revealed.

If we learned nothing else from Ivan, we learned that Alabama is a state full of heroes – strong people who pull together, work together and rise to the occasion.

Once again, Alabamians have shown the world that nothing will ever stand in

our way.

We do not wait around to be told something can’t be done.

Instead, we just do it.

It is that strength that lays the foundation for our recovery.

Alabamians worked as a team to prepare for the storm and deal with its aftermath.

Now, we must work together once again to get our beloved state back on her feet.

Let there be no mistake, this is going to be a long, tough road for us.

The destruction left behind by Ivan is unlike anything Alabama has ever experienced.

Homes have been destroyed, people hurt, businesses demolished and lives truly devastated.

Fortunately, we are a people of faith, and that will see us through. We will lend a hand to those who are in need because we are united in our goal of rebuilding Alabama.

In addition, we will have help from our federal, state and local governments, volunteer

organizations and other caring people from across America who will make sure all aid that is available gets where it is needed as quickly as possible.

Our communities will rebuild.

Our state will recover.

We know this is true because we have all seen the collective greatness of our people.

If Ivan couldn’t defeat us, then what possibly could?

Hurricane Ivan was terrible, but it brought out the best in Alabama.

Bob Riley is Governor of Alabama.

He can be reached by e-mail through the web site