Downtown Cedar Rapids on June 13th 2008.
This is the company where my sister Jamie works. Amazingly, after a lot of work and months of operating out of an empty grocery store building, they are now back in their downtown space. This building is many, many blocks from the river.
It's been exactly a year since the epic flooding occurred here in Iowa. Cedar Rapids had the worst of it's flooding on June 13th 2008, while the Iowa River in Iowa City crested a few days later, destroying much of the University of Iowa Arts Campus. I really can't believe that it's been a year. Some estimates make this the second most expensive disaster that the U.S. has ever seen. It's shocking how much reality can change in a few hours. Recovery is slow and in some cases, nonexistent. There are signs of recovery every day though, however small they might be. A business reopening here and there, a completely new business opening up, or a homeowner moving back into their newly remodeled house after bringing it back from the brink of destruction. For every one of these triumphant stories though, there are many, many more sad ones of people, businesses, and neighborhoods that will never recover. Not to over-generalize, but we in the Midwest, tend to be stoic people who really have difficulty asking for help. I guess that's why you don't read too much in the national press about the flooded neighborhoods in our area, like the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, where more than 150 years of history and community were wiped out in one afternoon. At 10 am tomorrow, church bells will ring in our area to mark the moment that the Cedar River crested at more than 20 feet above flood stage. I know all of those directly affected will be in my thoughts at that hour.