At a time when most of us are more than tired of the political
harangues that seem to be the "law of the land," it is almost
comforting to look back on the shock and devastation of Irene and
realize what Vermonters displayed in terms of compassion and
fortitude. In Ludlow, as well as half of the rest of the
state, Irene left behind a legacy of lost homes, disabled
businesses, people injured both physically and mentally,
disconnected transportation, and, saddest of all, loss of life.
It was a situation that so easily could have evolved into a
state of chaos and utter despair.
Yet, that was not to be the tone Vermonters would adopt in the
aftermath of Irene. They simply decided that there was much work to
done and did it. Both private individuals, organizations and state
and local government acted in concert to repair that which was
repairable and rebuild that which required total
The process was long, tedious, and often unpleasant. But we
recognized that it had to be done and we did it.
There are still those suffering the consequences of Irene; it is
doubtful that the memory of Irene will be lost very quickly.
But of this I feel absolutely certain: As horrendous and
damaging an event as Irene was, it was still the finest example of
one human being helping another that I have ever witnessed.
Irene, as an event, is not something to be proud of; yet it is
with great pride that I remember the generosity and humanity of
Vermonters in responding to this disaster. This is not simply
a pride limited to Ludlow. It extents to all those who worked and
contributed to the recovery effort in the state, the nation, and