Posted on August 1, 2007 under minnesota

A bridge on 35w over the Mississippi collapsed tonight, not an iconic bridge, a nondescript, workmanlike bridge, that I’ve driven countless times, that I bike under every few days.  There are six people dead so far, but so many fire and so many cars in the river.

What is the use of being a historian right now, instead of an EMT?  Does being a historian mean being an observer, instead of an actor?

I work at the museum at HCMC, the hospital where they’re taking the survivors.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get some oral histories and do some good. But I’m drained.  I’m out of ideas.  I have stories but no solutions.

3 Comments on “Collapse”

  1. As tragic as this is, we can’t live solely in tragedy. It’s not the way life works. There is absolutely a place for historians. We assist society’s memory.

  2. I know it’s hard. I watched all the way through, from when the special report broke at 6:25 on the news and through until just after the 10 o’clock news. I immediately felt my neck and shoulders tense & they didn’t let loose until well into the next day. I was on the verge of crying pretty much straight through. My daughter was in the Cities that day, but had thankfully returned much earlier. When you see something like this happen, you just want to rush to the scene and help. What gives me great hope is that so many become heroic (even though they wouldn’t call it that) and they simply know just what they must do in these unpredictable and horrifying circumstances. That’s the great stuff we get to document – the glorious human spirit. Take care.

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