People formed human chains to rescue victims, a black man (sent via Chik-fil-A) rescued an elderly white woman from her home on a jet-ski, driving it right out of her flooded living room. Some of the people helping were rich, others clearly were not. Likewise those they helped. The photos of rescuers and rescued show the kind of wide-ranging diversity that our colleges and corporations aspire to, but usually fail to deliver.
Asked what he was going to do as he prepared his boat, a Texas man responded, “I’m gonna try to save some lives.” A report from Agence France Presse said it best: “In Devastated Houston ‘Nobody Hates Anybody’ As People Come Together.”
That’s the real America, the one that emerges in crisis. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, yachtsmen, ferrymen, fishermen and ordinary citizens in pleasure boats collaborated — without being told what to do by the government or media, in what one publication called an American “Dunkirk,” evacuating people from Manhattan and bringing critically needed suppies in. They provided the logistical core of relief efforts in lower Manhattan until the federal government took over — four days later.