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Hurricane Katrina
By Norman Erickson


August 31, 2005

In the recent tragedies of Hurricane Katrina I have begun to think about life here in Ketchikan - or ALL of Southeastern Alaska for that matter. We live in a small rural community in the southernmost part of Alaska, protected from the danger of tornados, flash floods, hurricanes, and (large - damaging) earthquakes... and we do not realize what the rest of the world truly is going through in those times when natural disaster strikes its hardest.

I have lived in Alaska my entire life, except for a few years that I spent in other parts of the country - and I have to say that I have never felt more safe and secure as I do when I am here, in Ketchikan; my paradise. I have been in an earthquake in Japan, faced tornados in the Colorado, a hurricane in North Carolina... but not once have I feared for my life during my time on this island.

Watching the news about Hurricane Katrina really hits hard in the back of my head because I have several close friends in that area; some I have yet to hear from... One friend called me yesterday and said that he had just been on a boat going through what 'used to be' Bourbon Street in New Orleans. 80% of New Orleans is under water... FLOODED... and we just watch it on the news as if it's nothing new. We have nothing to fear on this island, but maybe a small rockslide or an occasional storm with 50MPH gusts of wind...

I just starting thinking how 'perfect' life really is here in Ketchikan, and that we truly do live in 'paradise.' Our city governments may not completely agree with one another from time to time, and our school system may need a little improvement in various areas, and we may all get tired of seeing these cruise ships day after day, but we have one thing to think about... we STILL have a place to call "home." - And we always will.

It's going to take a lifetime to rebuild the city of New Orleans, so for once let's stop thinking of ourselves in our own 'perfect world' and maybe think of those in other areas of the country to might need a little selfless compassion and caring in their time of need. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter; my heart goes out to all those who have been affected by these terrible, tragic storms...


Norman Erickson
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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