As most know, North Carolina was hit with over 20 tornados this past weekend. The storm knocked down hundreds of trees, flattened several houses and buildings, and worst of all, injured and even killed a few of our fellow residents. Needless to say, our state was blind-sided by a storm that changed a lot of people’s lives, all in a matter of seconds.

No one was prepared for this kind of storm. We’re used to ignoring the standard tornado warnings we occasionally hear on the TV or radio. It wasn’t really until about 3pm when people started seeing the black clouds, feeling the strong winds, and seeing trees starting to bend, that they started to take this thing seriously.

Luckily I was in Richmond this past weekend so I was able to avoid the storm, unlike several of my friends. Listening to their stories of where they were, what they were doing up until minutes before, and how some just barely escaped the twister’s path was pretty eery and chilling to hear.

It was most interesting to hear how everyone delt with the situation. Some people immediately thought to call their parents or loved ones hoping it wouldn’t be their last. Some people stayed calm in order to help and direct others to safety. And a few brave soles disregarded the dangers of the storm and instead chose to get as close as possible in order to document the experience for everyone else.

But let’s face it, you never know how you’re really going to act when faced with danger until you’re actually faced with it. Obviously I’ve never been in that situation since when I first heard of the storm, I immediately thought of the safety of my computer.

As I immaturely thought of a materialistic item, others were reaching for their loved ones and taking drastic measures to save their own lives. I can guarantee you that those who were in NC that weekend weren’t too concerned about their computer, or even their brand new car in the driveway. They were concerned with the well-being of those that mattered most: their family, their friends, and their community.

A disaster like this makes you reevaluate what’s important in your life. It makes you realize what matters, and what doesn’t. Sure it sucks to be the person with a tree flattening their brand new car, or the students at Shaw University who can’t finish out their school year because of the damage. And yes it’s absolutely terrible to think of those families that no longer have a roof over their heads, and have lost pretty much everything they own. But when you see these people on TV, all they really care about is that they’re alive. “It’s a miracle,” they all keep repeating.

In the areas where the tornados touched down, there isn’t a lot that still remains. But one thing that does still remain is our hope. Our hope that together, our community can overcome this disaster and restore our city. The way that our community has already come together to help those in need has been remarkable to witness, and it’s because of this comrodery that with just a few more weeks, we’ll be able get back to the way things were like just a few days ago.