I'm 800 miles from home, watching one of my favorite places in the world be ravaged by flood waters and destroyed by debris. Places that I know and love are gone, snapped in half or swept away into the Atlantic. I can't physically help with clean up or assess the situation first hand. And I didn't even get the worst of it in my hometown of Montclair. (Sidenote-Everyone's safe. My family's extremely lucky; no major damage and we got our power back.)
While I grew up in northern New Jersey, I spent a significant amount of time at the Jersey shore. My cousins have a house in Seaside, one of the hardest areas hit. Good family friends have houses right on a lagoon next to Lavallette, which is about fifteen minutes north of Seaside. Honestly, I'm not sure if some of my childhood summer hangouts still exist. This video of the new Lyman St. Inlet stretches across the island and across the main thoroughfare of RT. 35. If Most of my friends on the East Coast don't have school and if they were able to, got home and started to help clean up.
But if I know one thing about New Jersey, New York and Connecticut residents, it is that they are incredibly resilient. They come back from anything. The communities will rally. They will support each other in any way that they can. That extends across the country, including right here in Milwaukee. Almost every New Jersey student that I know has reached out to see if my family was OK. Even people at Marquette that have no connection to New Jersey have double checked to make sure that my family is safe. That genuine feeling is something that cannot be repaid or replicated.
There's a reason that New Jersey's favorite son, Bruce Springsteen has songs entitled, "We Take Care of Our Own" and "My City of Ruins."
Because New Jersey will rise up. Together.