The American Spirit after Harvey by Craig Fuller

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Like most people, I watched the tragedy in Texas unfold hour by hour. For me, the scenes were made more horrific because of the many times I have been in Houston and the people I’ve come to know there. Seeing familiar streets flooded with only boat traffic moving among people and debris was difficult to watch.

As the drama played out, stories of individual heroism began to emerge. People traveled into the area with boats to effect rescues, risking their own lives to save people they were meeting for the first time.

The image of “the Cajun Navy” showed us all how people who have been impacted by floods stand ready to help those in neighboring states.

No doubt, the recovery will be long and challenging. But, against all odds, lives were saved and recovery becomes a reality thanks to something we all recognize: the American Spirit!

Having endured a difficult year with far too much drama coming out of Washington, watching those in Texas cope and overcome the worst natural disaster any have seen was a reminder that the American Spirit rises above even the worst of times.

It took me back 25 years ago when the National Republican Party Convention convened in Houston. Honored by President George H.W. Bush to lead the Convention, when we searched for a theme for the event, the theme selected was The American Spirit.

Our intention was to bring the country together as thousands gathered in Houston 25 years ago and as we celebrated the American Spirit then, we should celebrate it even more today….perhaps, because we need the American Spirit even more today!

Maybe, just maybe, the events of August can drive the nation’s leaders to find their “better selves.” As we entered September, Senator John McCain wrote an open letter to his colleagues outlining the work awaiting them as they return to Washington. He concluded suggesting there are many opportunities “…to show that ordinary, decent, free people can govern competently, respectfully and humbly, and to prove the value of the United States Congress to the great nation we serve.”

Let’s hope Senator McCain’s colleagues take this message to heart and reach within themselves to bring some of the American Spirit to the tasks at hand. 
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

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