I've learned over the years that you can truly tell the character of people during a time of crisis. I'm sure this is common knowledge to many, but witnessing devastating events during my time on this earth has really opened my eyes to this fact. New Yorkers and Americans in general pulled together after September 11th and had a strong sense of patriotic pride. Hurricane Katrina showed that although there were many heroes (some of my family members included), panic and selfishness can turn a horrible situation into something catastrophic and shameful. The earthquake in Japan has showed me first hand how selfless people can be, voluntarily sacrificing their lives in order for the greater good.
Hurricane Irene is no different. This huge storm made many people who remember recent events worry for their property, families, and personal safety. The stories we read on the news are a (biased and hand selected) reflection of our demeanor, and, in this case, matureness.
My lovely hometown of Virginia Beach is all over the news, thanks to a live report from the Weather Channel. I admit, the immature part of me thinks the fact that this random guy streaking behind the weatherman during a hurricane is slightly hilarious, but the grown up/parent in me scoffs at it too. I suppose it wouldn't bother me as much if I didn't think that many people will remember this the most when looking back at this storm. Not many will think of the lives lost, but instead think of the dude showing his "storm front" on national television. No wonder other nations have a low opinion of us.
Instead, I think I will remember this awesome news story instead. I hope when my son and daughter grow up one day, they will represent the heroic side of humanity, rather than the idiotic. The brave soldier below is standing guard at the Tomb Of The Unknowns, continuing this patriotic and humbling tradition generations old. He, and his fellow soldiers, did not know what was to come during the storm, and yet he fulfilled his duty to America.
I only wish that people remember him, and so many unsung others, and strive to be a better human and neighbor in the face of a crisis.