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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

When Disaster Strikes…

A railroad crossing sign sticks out of the water along the Mississippi River Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Burlington, Iowa. The federal government predicts that 27 levees could potentially overflow along the river if the weather forecast is on the mark and a massive sandbagging effort fails to raise the level of the levees, according to a map obtained Monday by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Good morning, Everyone...

Over the last few days, I have been exhilarated at the number of people who have told personal stories about optimism, since I feel that is probably the most-important emotion we can bring in our lives each day. This morning, however, since the news wires are full of the disaster, rather than any good that could be found in the Midwest Flooding along the Mississippi River, we are going to look at a pair of somewhat rare pieces of American character: endurance and compassion.

"There's one thing about Midwesterners," said Don Giltner, mayor of Louisiana, Mo., a picturesque river town north of St. Louis where 40 square blocks were under water Wednesday, three days before the Mississppi's expected crest. "We're resilient as hell. We're all worn out. We've put in a lot of long days." Quote attributed to ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer.

I can speak to the Midwestern farmers' character, having spent so many years of my life living and working there. There is incredibly heart-stopping fear farmers live with every summer, from tornadoes, floods and hail storms, and along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the great floods that sweep people lives away in the course of several times each decade. The dry years, the years when all you get at planting time are dust clouds because there is no moisture in the richest soil in the United States.

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.