Hurricane season is once again upon us and this year will mark the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo which devastated McClellanville on September 21st (and well into the 22nd) of 1989. Amazingly there was no loss of life within the town, but the path of destruction was the worst left by a hurricane at it’s time and McClellanville was ground zero. Anyone that lived here at the time knows that there are many reasons to not want to relive the agony and loss experienced. However, I’d like to propose that after 20 years we are due for an “I Survived Hurricane Hugo” celebration and remembrance.
I’ll be posting more about Hurricane Hugo and hurricane preparedness later, but to prepare for the coming anniversary I would like to gather pictures of the village after Hugo in order to prepare a slideshow. Fallen trees, muddy floors and streets, damaged homes and boats, volunteers, National Guard, cleanup efforts, whatever you have that will add to the story.
If you have a scanner you can scan and email your photos to me. Otherwise I will be scanning pictures. You can submit them at our office and I will scan them and get them back to you as soon as possible. Be sure to mark them with your information so nothing gets mixed and they are returned to the right place. You can submit individual pictures or packages and I will sort through them and choose the best. Through this effort, we will be preserving these images forever. If we get enough images I will even prepare a slideshow presentation for the town and make CD’s available. All credit will be given to the original photographers, so please feel free to submit your best images.
We have a whole new population in the village that didn’t live through this experience that forever reshaped the way we viewed life. Many have seen scrapbooks from one person or another, but few know the whole story. An event like this can pull us together as a stronger community as we share our past experiences. As the eyes of the nation fall on us again I propose that we present an image fitting the way that we banded together after Hugo to repair the Village.
There is no denying that it was a horrible experience. A decade later, we still used “before Hugo” and “after Hugo” as the major time indicator. I know some suffered enormous financial loss, but I dare say that McClellanville is a better place because of those tragedies because of what we learned about ourselves in the rebuilding process. We learned the generosity of the human race as volunteers poured in to help a small town they had never heard of but saw only glimpses of on the news. FEMA was probably less helpful than their dreadful performance in New Orleans after Katrina, but nobody gave up and begged for a handout. We rebuilt.
If you ask most people you’ll find that the biggest tragedy wasn’t the shrimpboat in their front yard, 6 inches of mud in their house, or even their missing roof…it was that grandma’s quilt was missing or the ruined wedding album. These are the things that we lost that we’ll never get back. I was only 9 at the time of Hugo and couldn’t grasp that at the time (it was a big adventure for me, since there was no school for weeks and weeks and tons of new things to see) but I realize this now.
So dust off your scrap books and share your stories as we remember a part of our history that helped make us the town we are today…Who’s with me?
Update: These picture provided were used to create a gallery in my McClellanville: 20 Years after Hurricane Hugo posts
Shrimpboat picture courtesy of Mike Burton.