So Proud of My City

“We now know that that it can happen to us…but also know that we can handle it. Because we are Nashville.” ~Patten Fuqua

What’s happening in Nashville is surreal.  That is the only word I can find for it.  When we were driving into the city Monday after staying an extra day in Cincy because Davidson County was in a state of emergency, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It is a weird feeling when your city, your home, is in ruins.  It just doesn’t seem real.

We got to Nashville and went to pick up Caesar at the kennel.  I called when we got close and we were told where to park and that they would have to bring Caesar over through the woods since the entrance to the driveway was under 8-10 feet of water.  I got off the phone and told the Boy.

Downtown Nashville. Photo by Kent Harville

“What, 8-10 FEET?! You mean 8-10 INCHES right?” He said.

“Sure.” I said. I was tired and I probably didn’t hear them right.

We drove up to park and both looked at each other with wide eyes.

“I guess she did mean feet,” the Boy said.

I was having a very hard time reconciling everything I was seeing. On such a beautiful, bright, warm Nashville spring day, my eyes saw images of roads completely submerged, water up to the top of mailboxes and covering the foundations of houses as this unwelcome guest dangerously creeped towards the door.

Before I could process what was happening, Caesar burst through the woods with Molly from the kennel.  We stood there and talked for her for a bit as she told us how fast the water rose and about how Opryland Hotel had to be evacuated and that the Opry Mills Mall had water up to the ceiling.  I couldn’t fathom it, couldn’t wrap my brain around it.

1st and 2nd Ave downtown are completely under water...

After trying to get over to East Nashville (which is across the river from the city) multiple times and being stopped because of water, we headed to the Boy’s house where I was glued to the TV as images of downtown Nashville submerged in water flashed across the screen.

We finally got back to my house but as we navigated the few dry streets downtown and finally found a way to get to East Nashville, the images I had just seen on the television were brought to life.  Despite the lack of media coverage, make no mistake…this flooding is severe.  It will take the city months to get back to normal. All I kept thinking was, how many times have I run on these streets? I know these places, I know these streets.  Where I would hit the road early Saturday morning, now looked like a river!

The record amount of rain has flooded downtown Nashville, left entire neighborhoods, people dead and businesses submerged and thousands of people without a home.  The Cumberland River, which snakes around downtown Nashville rose a record breaking 50 feet over the weekend causing billions of dollars in damage.  Even though after cresting last night, the water level should recede, that will only be the beginning.

So much of Nashville’s economy is wrapped up in tourism and with Nashville, hotels and landmarks such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, Broadway, Opryland Hotel, and the Opry House itself under water, the affect will be devastating. It has just blown my mind to see the heart of Nashville hurt like this. I look out my window and see emergency vehicles whizzing past towing boats. Is this Nashville? It’s incomprehensible.

Historic Opry House under water

As a news junkie, I’ve been more than a little perturbed that Nashville has been forgotten as 24 hour news programs focus on an oil spill and a failed car bomb.  This morning as I was watching the morning shows and getting more and more frustrated about the lack of coverage…I came across this blog post.

Patten, the writer of this post, concludes that although we need the national exposure to get relief to rebuild, Nashville is being ignored because of WHO WE ARE as a city.  I think he’s absolutely right.

“A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot. Our biggest warning was, “Don’t play in the floodwater.” When you think about it…that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren’t doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.”

I am so proud of my city!

How You Can Help

The mayor of Nashville declared a state of emergency for Davidson County and it may soon be a federal disaster area.  My city, my home, needs help.  I’ve been amazed after talking with friends and co-workers and seeing the city of Nashville come together and help.  This is just one reason Nashville is such a great town! Here are some things you can do:

  1. If you’re in Nashville, check out http://hon.org/ to sign up as a volunteer. Or follow @HONashville for updates and opportunities.
  2. Check out the volunteer opportunity list the amazing team at Nashvillest has put together. There are so many ways to get involved and help our neighbors.  This is a great list that makes it easy to find which is best for you!
  3. If you’re out of town…you can help too! Text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 to disaster relief.

Life will go on, we will rebuild and we will once again hear music played in the Opry House.  Like Patten says in his post, this disaster has changed us.  We know it can happen to us but we also know we can handle it, because we are Nashville. Patten, you couldn’t be more right.  I am so proud to call this town my home!

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5 thoughts on “So Proud of My City

  1. jackie, absolutely beautiful writing. what a great perspective to share – someone coming into Nashville post-storm. it is heartbreaking and devastating, but Nashvillians LOVE their city and we’ll get it back on it’s feet in no time.

    glad you’re back!

  2. A great post, Jackie! We will pull through this.

    I do have to disagree with the comments regarding the lack of national news coverage however. Over the course of the weekend the Nashville flooding was covered every hour on the hour on CNN. Fox News. BBC. MSNBC. and all of the other major networks. I even had friends contacting me from across the world because they’d heard of the flooding on their news networks abroad. Sure, the car bomb in NYC and the oil spill were covered but be assured, Nashville was not forgotten :).

  3. Pingback: My Last Will and Testament and a Bake Sale « JayeWalking

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