The United States has seen more than its share of tragedies in the last couple of years, but nothing has come close to the magnitude of the recent events in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
The tornadoes in Oklahoma, the hurricane in North Carolina and floods in Texas were nature-made. We Americans are now picking up the pieces of a man-made disaster, larger in scope and horror than anything we've seen before.
In the walls and ceilings industry, it has been the custom when disaster strikes to sympathize with the sufferers, ship extra materials, repair the damage and move on. Many of those working on the repairs in the various stricken areas have been out-of-towners. Depending on where you're standing, they're opportunists cashing in on a bad situation or good Samaritans offering a hand to put people's lives back together.
This time, it's different. This time, we're all standing in the same place. We're waving our flags, lighting our candles, saying our prayers and singing our songs¿together. Everyone has come together to mourn, to share and to help. The country has never seemed bigger, yet has never seemed smaller.
As members of the tight-knit wall and ceiling industry, the country feels particularly small. Some in the industry were working in the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks and perished, many have volunteered for the painstaking and heart-wrenching job of clearing the rubble, and many more will be there to help construct fresh and new structures when the time is right.
Today, 5-gallon buckets that would have held joint compound or other wall and ceiling materials are being filled with pieces of rubble and passed out of the immediate area person to person; their contents are emptied in trucks and hauled away; and the buckets return to the workers for another round. Soon enough, trucks will be driving into the area carrying materials, with the sole purpose of putting things back together.
We can't escape the forces of nature or the forces of evil. But we can take pride in being involved in an industry that is there not only rebuilding cityscapes, but also rebuilding spirit. And that spirit endures.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, we at Walls & Ceilings express our thanks for lives that were spared, and for the goodness of people who have helped those in need. We wish you and your families a pleasant holiday.
Editor and Publisher