Weekly Column: Flooding Won't Thwart 4th of July
By Rep. Kristi Noem
The Fourth of July is a yearly opportunity to celebrate the essence of the American Spirit. Usually that means spending the holiday with friends and family enjoying backyard barbecues, camping, fireworks, and other recreational activities.
Unfortunately, for too many this year in South Dakota celebrations could be thwarted by the flooding along the Missouri and in Northeastern South Dakota. The flooding has undoubtedly thrown the lives of many into disarray as rising waters overtake homes, businesses and farm land. Many South Dakotans are struggling to keep their property dry and wonder if the levees will hold. Others who have been evacuated wait and wonder when they will be allowed back in and what condition they will find things when they return. There is no question the flooding will make celebrating the Fourth of July difficult for some.
All of this makes the green light for Pierre and Fort Pierre Fourth of July festivities all the more heartening. Community officials have assured locals that they intend to move forward with the regularly scheduled parade, rodeo and fireworks. That is a strong testament to the South Dakota spirit. I am sure other flooded communities elsewhere around the state will also continue with their holiday plans in some form or fashion. It’s not in our nature to quit just because of difficulty.
South Dakota has never been the easiest place to live. Hard winters, hot summers, drought, flooding and tornadoes are all part of the package deal. But the families who moved here generations ago or those who have come more recently for a job or education and have stayed are truly hardy people who are worth calling neighbor. We will get through the flooding this year, just like we have done in the past with other disasters. We’ll do it relying on each other, just as we have in the past. Not only will we survive, we will thrive – celebrating holidays along the way, and eventually rebuilding our communities stronger and better than before.
Rep. Kristi Noem is South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative, elected in November 2010. She serves on the Agriculture, Education and Workforce and Natural Resources Committees.