Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not just another day

For the past week or so, as I've listed to talk radio on the drive to and from work, there have been a number of call-in shows asking area residents how they planned to commemorate the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Quite a few people said they were going to treat it like just another day.

I can't.

I wanted today to come and go without getting caught up in the ceremony and fanfare we practice in this country to signify the passing of an anniversary. In fact, I had all intentions of getting in my car, driving in to work, and treating today like your run of the mill, ordinary Wednesday.

I just could not do it.

How can I think of this as just another day when I drive past Lake Lawn Cemetary and see the 1,464 white flags displayed on their grounds in memory of the people who lost their lives in the wake of Katrina? Or, when I turn on the radio and hear about the President and First Lady visiting Martin L. King, Jr. Charter School in the Lower Ninth Ward? Believe me, that doesn't happen on your average Wednesday. Or, when I think about the dozens of memorial services, bells tolling at 9:38 a.m. (the time of the first levee breech), and the thousands of media personnel flooding the city in nearly the same fashion as Lake Ponchatrain two years ago?

It is just too hard to be in New Orleans today and treat today as if it is just another day. For those of us living here, and the thousands who have picked up and started their lives in other parts of the country, August 29th will never be just another day.