Northern California is suffering with some of the worse fires in that state’s history. Twenty-three people have been reportedly killed with at least 285 people reported missing. Communities and over 170,000 acres have been burned. At this moment the fires are not close to being contained with several very trying days ahead for sleep-deprived firefighters. Over 8,000 firefighters have been reported to be fighting the deadly fire engulfing Napa Valley, wineries, vineyards and communities. Over 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate including the city of Calistoga and parts of Geyserville.
Media clips of horror-stricken families losing their homes to this blazing inferno have been heart wrenching.
Growing up in Appalachia I am all too familiar with fires. In dry weather the hills are prone to be set on fire sometimes by accident or sometimes maliciously. I can remember fighting fires as a kid trying to protect our property and help others. Watching fire encircle your house is a scary sight.
As a nation we will help California just like we are helping, Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and any hard hit area in America. We have had our share of devastation in this country lately from the mass murder massacre of Las Vegas to suffering people in Puerto Rico. There are plenty of hurting people all around.
Its gut-wrenching to lose your house whether by wind, flood or fire. Nobody wants to experience either. At the same time too many Americans over the last few years lost their homes because of unemployment or they had a payment they couldn’t afford. Having someone force you out of your home because of life’s unfortunate circumstances is also painful.
There is plenty of pain to go around right now in our country. The loss of some of our finest soldiers serving our country in Niger was traumatic news this week. To those families the pain is almost more than they can bear. Yet, there will be more news of soldiers dying from Iraq and Afghanistan. How much more can we bear? What awaits us with North Korea? Massive killing unlike anything we have ever comprehended?
As Americans we suffer with the families of Las Vegas, the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and those burning in California. Yet, the pain for many of us is in another town or is not impacting our family. Our generation only knows the wars that we have seen on the television. The pain and all the dying looked bad but we could turn the television off. However, occasionally a soldier’s funeral would be held in a nearby town or our own town and suffering and pain was brought closer to home.
Fire is very scary, hot and scorching. Fire is deadly but never hurts nearly as bad unless it is burning you.
A lot of people have been burned lately in America literally or figuratively. People without flood insurance will never recuperate. Loved ones who lost children or parents in Las Vegas will never get over what happened. They will try to go on but they will never get over it. However you are burned you never get over it. You go on with God’s help and the mental wherewithal to not give up but the scars are there.
With all the hurt we have in our country right now we need more than ever before our leaders on Capital Hill to find ways to help our country. Millionaire politicians should be helping us find solutions. Millionaire football players and team owners need to be good examples. Police brutality of African Americans must cease and all of us as Americans need to hear what they are saying and work together for all America to be able to walk or drive down the road safely and without harassment.
Victims of bullying at school to people stalked on social media to people harassed by the far right and the far left bear the wounds of emotional and sometimes even physical pain.
Today take a step back. Say a prayer, or utter an uplifting thought. Do something monetarily or physically volunteer. Find some way to help make all this pain a little better. Try to be a friend. Encourage and be helpful when and where possible.
Tomorrow it could be you.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of twelve books.