Joplin shows the world with its “Can Do” 90 days

August 22, 2011

During the Great Depression the Empire State building was completed in just 410 days.

1, 397 miles of the Alaskan-Canadian Highway was completed in less than a year during WWII.

Hoover Dam didn’t just come in on time, it came in two years early.

Examples all of the famous Yankee “can do” spirit and reminders to every American today that there was a time in this country when we let nothing stand in our way.

Unfortunately to find such spirit today one had to browse the pages of history. That is, until May 22, 2011, when Joplin, Missouri became a page in that history.

For just 90 days ago, a lone act of God set the stage for a show that America has not seen in decades. It is a show that is open to all ages, races and creeds, and admission is free. (Although donations of courage, determination, and compassion are greatly appreciated and most humbly accepted.)

It is a show that though it’s props are 21st century, it’s theme takes us back to a time in this country when, for lack of a better phrase, “things just got done”.

In the aftermath of 160 lost souls and hundreds of millions of dollars of property damage, a little known community in a corner of Missouri is showing the world that there are still pockets in this country that still “can do”.

They have shown that when your core principles are personal and fiscal responsibility you have a tendency to have competent, decisive local and state government that delivers when needed.

They have shown that federal dollars need not always be wasted. That there are some roles that government should provide and that in the right hands, they can be used wisely and prudently..

They have shown that by believing in their faith, their community, and themselves, not even the worst such type of destruction in decades can destroy their spirit.

Within weeks, St. John’s was back up with field facilities, Home Depot had it’s temporary store and Wal-Mart had cleared it’s lot for a re-opening less than six months after total destruction.

The arbitrary FEMA imposed August 7th debris deadline was met and passed.

All across the new “no-man’s land”, framing is going up, crews are coming in, and progress is being made.

Up and down Rangeline, businesses have re-opened, insurance has cleared most for tear down, and re-build is underway.

Walgreen’s is celebrating the re-opening of both it’s 20th street stores this very day.

But the greatest show of all has been that directed by the Joplin School District and its superintendent C.J. Huff. In less than 90 days he, his staff, and thousands of volunteers delivered a lesson in determination unparalleled in modern American history.

Joplin Schools opened their doors on schedule this past Wednesday, just 87 days post destruction and in so doing they ensured that those who attended the graduation of their upper classmen that fateful Sunday did not miss a day towards their own.

And they’ve taught the country and the world some valuable lessons:

A lesson of the difference between competent local and state government and the bickering and blaming seen all too often seen elsewhere.

A lesson of the difference between common sense, wise utilization of tax dollars and just throwing money at a problem with no thought or purpose.

A lesson that when you believe in your faith, your community, and yourself all things truly are possible.

A lesson that when you leave the coasts you find a sea of determination, grit, perseverance, and honor that is still the heart beat of this great nation.

So on this three month anniversary let us reflect and remember, but let us also take stock.

Let us bow our heads in remembrance of those lost, pray for their souls and those they left behind.

Let us also lift those heads with pride and strength as we continue to show America the very essence of the meaning of the phrase “can do”.

And let us never forget the lessons that we are now teaching an entire world.

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