The Humble Remains of a Crumbling Humanity

By Cheri Roberts of Challenging the Rhetoric and Cheri Speak 

Saturday will mark 10-years, a decade, since a category-3 Hurricane, named Katrina, made landfall in Louisiana and the world watched as our country fell apart on live TV. The images and sounds from inside and outside of the Superdome can never be erased from our conscience. August 29, 2005 and the long days that followed will forever be painfully etched in American history as one of our most embarrassing and shameful moments as a nation.

The failures of our government before, during and after were too many; their excuses too weak. When they did step-up for their photo-op, it was too little too late and at least 1,833 human lives across five states were unnecessarily lost; countless others displaced.

When media can get in, but basic essential supplies to sustain life cannot, you know you live in a true dystopian world.

83 Caskets

Today, as a reminder of this disgrace, Yahoo published a story about 83 people whose bodies lay in wait, yet unclaimed, a decade later. All but 30 have been identified and yet they still wait where they were laid to rest, in what was the former Charity Hospital Cemetery, 3-years after their deaths. The Katrina Memorial was built on the site of this hospital in 2007



These forgotten victims of Katrina are not the only ones who lay silently waiting to be collected or identified.

9/11 Remains Remain Too

Less than 4-years before Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, we lost nearly 3000 lives in what Congress dubbed, “Patriot Day”, but most simply refer to it as “9/11”. The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a different kind of disgrace weighted with a different kind of shame and still very much in question. Instead of a government that sat back letting it’s people literally sink or swim as they did in Louisiana, they immediately dove into action rallying a country into a flag waving frenzy and then started a war.



Nearly 14-years later, thousands of remains from unidentified victims of the Trade Center attacks lie in what amounts to the basement of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in a controlled area called the “Remains Repository”; an official New York City facility operated under the jurisdiction of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York (OCME) and is only accessible by OCME staff. Nearby, “The Reflection Room”, is available to 9/11 family members.

What Remains The Same

Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 have left us with questions about the competency and culpability of our own government. These more-than-horrific events have also left us with a growing recognition of the fatal flaw of reliance. In both examples we saw the human spirit far exceed the human nature of our modern society.

What remains are those human remains to remind us we are alone with each other and maybe, in the end, just alone.


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