"In a free society, the public good depends on private character," GW told a graduating class last May, citing Tocqueville's notion that "The secret to America's success was our talent for bringing people together for the common good. Tyrants maintain their power by isolating their citizens. America offered the world, he said, something it had never seen before. When you come together to serve a cause greater than yourself, you will help build a greater and more just America."
"Send us your offers of help for your neighbors," say the folks at NECN (New England Cable News) as the sun emerges from behind the rain clouds, and our fellow New Englanders begin to assess the damage, pick up the pieces and try to get back to normal in the wake of historic flooding this past week. We're doing our miniscule part by alerting our readers who may wish to help to head on over to "The NECN Help Your Neighbor" blog:
Matt Noyes suggested this, and we're happy to do it. We have received many emails from New Englanders (and beyond), offering free and discounted services to those who suffered losses in the May flood. Send in your offers to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them.
Here's a good summary of the big picture from CBS/AP:
Driving rains that caused the worst flooding in New England since the 1930s finally eased up Tuesday, but washed-out roads and the danger of dam breaks prevented many people from returning to their homes.
More than a foot of rain fell across New Hampshire, Massachusetts and southern Maine between Friday and Tuesday, with up to 17 inches in some places. Police reported a single fatality, a 59-year-old man whose body was found in a submerged car north of Boston.
Gov. Mitt Romney said the damage would reach tens of millions of dollars in Massachusetts alone. And more rain was forecast for the weekend.
But on Tuesday, the worst appeared to be over.
The sun is out, the terrace is a terrace again -- after its brief stint as a wetland on Sunday -- and the animals are loving it. Above, Baby pauses to sniff the air.
For our own readers who've expressed concern after reading our own local coverage of the Flood of 2006 -- featuring Tuck's heroic clearing of our flooded basement -- we're high and dry now, and for the first time in days, Tiny and Baby are outside happily catching up with their yard-patrol duties.
A word to the wise just added to NECN's "Help your Neighbor" blog:
We know how kind and generous New Englanders are. We appreciate the offers of free and discounted help that are coming in, and we are posting every one. But please note: we're offering this as a public service, and we aren't able to check out every offer to ensure they are sincere. Use common sense when responding, and don't give out too much personal information until you are comfortable with the offer. We have no reason to doubt the sincerity and generosity of everyone -- we just want you to be safe.
Meanwhile, a typical one of the many offers "flooding" in:
From the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce website: The Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce is asking everyone who would like to assist to come to Short Sands Beach in York today (5/17/06) at 11:30 am with trash cans, brooms, wheelbarrels, and shovels to help us clean-up the debris in the streets and on the beach, as well as assist merchants with whatever else they may need. The goal is to get as many businesses up and running as we can for this coming weekend.
It's the American way, bringing people together for the common good. Not to mention that "the business of America is business." Tocqueville and Calvin Coolidge would both be proud. Speaking of doing our part for the larger community, we must remember to pay a visit to Brown's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream at York Beach when we're down Goomp's over Memorial Day weekend. From USA Today's "10 great places to scream for ice cream":
In operation for almost 40 years, "this is the quintessential summer ice cream stand on the way to a lighthouse (locals know it as Nubble Lighthouse). Once you get there, you'll notice that there are plenty of walk-up order windows, which is what any good stand should have. The ice cream is good, but it's the incredibly beautiful setting that's the draw.
We can vouch for that. Post-cookout outings to Brown's are a family tradition spanning four generations (JuJu used to love it).
Update: Jill Fallon of Business of Life on "The American talent":
I often noted this talent in the past and of course I quoted de Tocqueville who remarked . . . that at the head of any new undertaking, you would find the government in France, a great lord in England and an association in America Working Together on Borrowed Time.
In the end, everything is local, and helping neighbors is the way to reinforce and practice our very American talent.