Thursday, August 2, 2007

When Tragedy Strikes Close to Home

Like most people, I am impacted by disaster in tangible ways. When Katrina happened, for example, I wept like most for both the loss of life and the lives interrupted.

But sometimes a natural disaster hits too close to home. When the bridge over I35W in Minneapolise collapsed last night, it hit me in my own backyard--literally. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, my wife and I lived less than a block from the 35W bridge for three years. I used this bridge a dozen times a day, thousands of times in total during my stay in Minneapolis.

I learned of the disaster in the middle of my lecture on German Unification for a summer class I am teaching. My phone began to go nuts; friends and family, many of whom visited us when we lived on University Avenue, were texting and calling to tell us what happened. The pictures were shockingly familiar. I know that bridge as intimately as I do the street that runs in front of my house, because literally, it was my driveway.

My heart bleeds for my native Minnesota. My heart bleeds for my original Alma Mater, the University of Minnesota. But most of all, my heart bleeds for the victims and their families and loved ones of this terrible tragedy.

Today I don't feel like talking about the history of fishing.

-- Dr. Todd

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