Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Perseverance and the Human Spirit (mixed with an inborn work ethic)

On the Fargo, ND flood
The best photos I have seen yet From Boston.com
You MUST check these 30 pictures out,

As most of you know by now I was born and raised in Minnesota. I came home from the hospital to the same house and the same room that I left 18 years later to attend college. I fled all of 45 minutes away to Moorhead, MN. I worked and eventually lived in Fargo, ND while attending college. This is where I met dearest....

I was born into a working class family. You earned what you had, more hand to mouth than anything else. Each generation is just hoping to do better then the last. This is a very unique area for several reasons.
First, the leading income for generations has been farming - this is hard work. It has called for a simpler lifestyle. Next, to live here, quite frankly, one needs to be hardy with a temperature range from 100+ degrees to -40, there is no other option. But the thing that stands out in my mind most is that we are a humble people, talking highly of ourselves is to (inadvertently) speak poorly of others. Therefore we start to think "what makes me any better".... however, I am breaking this unwritten rule wide open.

I am going to brag (you heard me grandma) about the perseverance, work ethic, dedication, will power, team spirit, and ability to pull together in a crisis that you will find in almost every true Midwesterner.
A portion of the definition of a "midwest" from Wikipedia: The Protestant and Midwestern [are influenced by] ideals of profit, thrift, work ethic, pioneer self-reliance, education, democratic rights, and religious tolerance...

The region was shaped by the relative absence of slavery (except Missouri), pioneer settlement, education in one-room free public schools, democratic notions brought by American Revolutionary War veterans, Protestant Faiths and experimentation, and agricultural wealth ... Wikipedia
We (from here on our we = Midwesterner) are strong people with an inborn work ethic. We will not sit around and ask "Who is going to help us" we ask "Can I help you?" whether it is holding open a door or moving your neighbors furniture to the top floor so it isn't damaged in the flood, we are there to help. People have flooded the Fargo/Moorhead area to help. In fact there was so much help that officials had to ask "outside" help to refrain from coming in for fear of clogging up the roadways and impairing emergency vehicles routes. You will never see people pull together here like you will when a crisis hits. Providing endless meals (hotdishes), lawn care, and help when a loved one passes away, to fundraisers for those stricken with illnesses, or in this case when a flood knocked on their doors (and levies) two communities (separated only by a river) pulled together, put their heads down and started working. People weren't asking, "what about my house" or "why should I help". They knew that working together would be better then working as individuals. Many hands make for light work

For those of us that couldn't be there to help - sticking to the "no outside help" request, our hearts went out to the workers, home owners, and officials who worked so well together. As for our part - many doors opened to those forced to evacuate, and when the waters recede you will find us there helping to clean up.

Fargo will persevere - it is what they do. They will continue working together, they will clean up, and we will continue to be humble about all that has transpired. Saying things like "we are fine", "it wasn't so bad" , or "no big deal" or "oh this is nothing, ya know, you should see Sven's house" , ... But for this day I want to throw aside this attitude and say -
Good Job Everyone,
your spirit, heart, determination, and stamina have shown the world what we are about. You looked doom in the face and stared it down. I am proud to call myself a Minnesotan/ former North Dakotan/ Midwesterner/ and a hard working sole who was raised in this area and chose to return for the above reasons. May God continue to bless you and your efforts. May you have a warm bed to lay your head in and your family close, because right now that is what important. You all bring a tear to my eye. Thank YOU.
What strikes me about the pictures you are about to see are the smiles. Everyone is smiling. Minnesotans and North Dakotans are like work horses, the heavier the load the harder they pull. We are in this together, and despite the impending doom with a single leak of a levy, we know that work is better with a smile and kind words. Comradory I think it is called. Our spirit seems to thrive on hard work and a purpose. Satisfaction is found in a job well done, knowing we did our part.

It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated.
It is finished when it surrenders.
Ben Stein
This is a time at which the forces of nature, of the Red River, will meet the forces of the human spirit."
Clay County emergency center spokesman Dan Olson
Can you see the people
stranded in this picture
(click to enlarge)

"The eyes of America are on Fargo, North Dakota, and they're getting a very good impression of what the people of North Dakota are like."
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota
Do you notice on all the
pictures with people
that they are smiling?
Always smiling...

"What's going on here really is an inspiration for the country"
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota.

On the Fargo, ND flood
The best photos I have seen yet From Boston.com
You MUST check these 30 pictures out


Kacie said...

Best post ever!!!

I remember how I volunteered to go help fill sandbags (I think in 97 or 98?) in Granite Falls, MN. I mainly did it because I got out of school for it!! But it really was a great experience to see how everyone comes together to help out the community like that! I'm sure there are way more people helping out in Fargo though. Thanks for the great post!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

From one North Dakotan to a Minnesotan...GREAT post! The people in this area are pragmatic...get on with the situation, help your neighbor be it near or far, and do it with great attitude. Through all the trials this area has with weather and the like, the one thing that stands out above all is the people that inhabit the region. No bragging here...just a fact. I think your Gran would agree! The photos are eye opening for sure.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
julochka said...

although i don't find fargo the most beautiful place on earth and think that perhaps a little rebuilding after the flood wouldn't hurt, i do feel for the people there.

i asked a friend who lives there on facebook how things were and he indicated they were making the best of things:

"Yes, we have also declared our independence as a small island country. We now call ourselves Fargonia. Evolution has kicked in, as well, and several babies have been born in the last few days with gills. Kevin Costner has been elected as our king, even though we realize that that was just a character he played in "Waterworld". We have hired 150 gondoliers from Venice to replace the city bus system. The old city buses will be used as permanent dike walls."

see, humor in the midst of disaster. what more can you ask? that's a midwesterner for you and he's, of course, a native south dakotan. :-)

Just Jules said...

I agree about the rebuilding, and have a bit of a hard time feeling compassion for those that put themselves right on the rivers banks knowing that it has always and will always flood. However, I too am very proud of how the whole situation is being handled.

I love his humor -so great

Deb said...

I can attest to this MN work ethic as I had the pleasure of working with James and Julie. It left an indellible impression on me.

Adan said...

my brain is mush...the pics are awesome, i will be reading this in the morning with some coffee, and i hope all is well...just wanted to stop in and say hello!!

Dave King said...

There may be defeats, but what I take away from this is overwhelmingly victorious. Very cheering.

Polly said...

This is a great post, I must admit I didn't pay enough attention to the flood because it wasn't very well covered in British press. Thank you so much for drawing my attention to this.

Sandra said...

A very good post. I read last week why this area floods so easily. It was a glacier lake, so the whole area is very flat, as well as very fertile. There isn't enough force to the water in the river to dig a deep trough, so the inevitable happens and that's why it floods so widely.

I'm from MN, but St. Paul. St. Paul is a different nut altogether!

You described the people of the region very well.

Just Jules said...

Yes, the whole valley was a lake and it extended up to Detroit Lakes and beyone. Lake Agassiz I believe... anyway - makes for great farming, not the best housing location.

TheChicGeek said...

This is the best post EVER! It makes me want to move to the midwest to be around such wonderful people. The pictures are amazing too.
Thanks for sharing :)

Memories Of Mine said...

I am sorry to hear the news about your hometown. My hometown has been devastated by fire. It amazes me in this economic crisis a country with a population of only 22 million can raise $20 million in donations, for the towns that have been completely wiped off our map.

Anonymous said...


Great Post. And so true.