Thursday, August 16, 2007

Proud to Live in the Great State of Minnesota—Update on the 35W Bridge Collapse

As a native Minnesotan I have felt fortunate to be a resident of the Twin Cities. I knew the phrase Minnesota Nice was more than a slogan dreamed up by the Explore Minnesota tourism board. Minnesota Nice was a way of life. Sure we have road rage and drunk drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our state congress is divided left and right, just like the rest of the states in the union. But as Minnesotans, we face adversity together. And two weeks ago, we had an opportunity to share this wonderful aspect of Minnesota life with the world.
Eyes and cameras from around the world were on one small section of our state where Interstate 35W crossed the mighty Mississippi into Minneapolis two weeks back. It was a tragedy on many levels when the bridge with nearly 100 vehicles in the process of crossing, one a packed school bus, collapsed into the river. News media from around the US sent their top talking heads directly to the scene. The big names like Matt Lauer and Katie Couric stayed for only one day as I am certain the story wasn’t sensational enough. No terrorism. No political bashing. No looting.

The Minnesota 35W Bridge story was of heroism and bravery. It was a model of how a system should work. First responders came from communities all over the Twin Cities to help. Nearby citizens left the safety of homes, businesses and cars. They ran toward the danger to assist people from the water or out of a vehicle. The people affected were from many different social classes and nationalities. There were children and elderly, native Minnesotans and new immigrants. There were children. There were handicapped people. Minnesotans young and old helped each other. Few ran away from the bridge. Most were running toward it.

In the first few days of the tragedy, local, state and federal politicians stood together representing Minnesota as a united front. They continue to work to find the cause and plan to rebuild. Though the political spin is starting, for the most part Minnesotan’s are united in understanding what happened.

Yesterday, a walking bridge near Dinkytown by the UofM campus opened briefly. Many hoped for a glimpse of the bridge that we all drove over without a second thought just weeks ago. At this point, 90+ vehicles have been removed but 2 people are still known to be missing. Just yesterday two more victims were located in vehicles taken from the Mississippi bringing the official death toll to 11. The Hennepin County Sheriff, Rich Staneck, closed the bridge in respect for those still missing. Though he didn’t come out and say it directly, family members shouldn’t have to watch their loved ones recovered on YouTube. The bridge will remain closed until all known missing are recovered. Minnesotans understand and can wait.

If you are considering a move to the great state of Minnesota, you will be welcomed. Remember “Minnesota Nice” is not just a slogan, it is a way of life.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of David Wetzel Photography.

Copyright 2007