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Joseph: The sun will shine

Posted: October 8, 2015 5:56 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2015 1:00 a.m.

After the storm, comes the sun. No matter how dark it gets, the sun will shine again. Or perhaps we should say, no matter how much rain falls, the sun will shine again. And it would shine bright on Tuesday of this week for most of South Carolina. But not after historic rainfall totals were reached; amounts only seen once in 1,000 years.

Systems from Hurricane Joaquin brought more than 2 feet of rain to our state in a mere three days. One meteorologist estimated the state was blasted with almost 6 trillion gallons of rain over the past week, enough water to fill the Rose Bowl stadium to the top more than 65,000 times.

The rain finally receded Tuesday, the first day without rain in the Columbia area since Sept. 23. But the sun would shed light on the grim storm devastation. South Carolinians would mourn the death of 17 people. The floods would deliver 13 dam failures and the closures of about 270 roads and 140 bridges across the state.

And weather forecasters predict major river flooding could continue through the weekend despite the absence of rain. Thousands of people would be displaced from their homes; many losing everything. Homeowners would open their front doors Monday and Tuesday to find their belongings rearranged like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They would walk through soggy carpets. Photos ruined. Furniture destroyed.

It was like looking at a large painting, only the canvas was covered in mud now. Entire businesses were gone, disappearing from the economy in a few hours. Just gone. Cars would float away. Neighborhood streets would wash away. Yards would be under water. Homes would be under water. Well, OK, their roofs weren’t completely submerged. But would that make a difference? Probably not. Thousands would be without running water. Damages would be estimated in the billions of dollars. 

But amid unimaginable devastation, the rain would stop, the sun would shine, and the residents of South Carolina would continue to live by example and uphold the true definition of resilience and strength. This is not the first time and it won’t be the last. The world was watching our actions after nine innocent people were gunned down in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The victims’ families acted with love and forgiveness and the healing began.

Words are good, but actions will always reveal more. We see neighbors helping neighbors; strangers helping strangers. Hundreds of rescues have been performed. First responders, National Guard, S.C. State Guard, elected officials and citizens of South Carolina are all taking part in bringing our state back and we thank you. As Governor Nikki Haley said, “I have no doubt South Carolina will be stronger next week than this week. This is a time of faith, of strength, and taking care of each other.” 

As heartbreaking as the damage is to so many, we can be confident our state will rebuild. There is no disputing the meaning of hashtags like #SCStrong and #SCPride. We know their meanings. We live their meanings. It is simply who we are in South Carolina. Our strength is a habit not a rare occurrence. Do you see us, world? Don’t look for pictures of looting or videos of riots. That is not South Carolina. Look at our actions of neighbors helping, loving their neighbors. This is South Carolina and we have a pretty good reputation of being strong and resilient. So take notes, world -- this is the way we do things. #SCStrong 


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