Why We Need A National Hurricane Memorial And Museum
As of today the death toll from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma stands at 151 and is likely to rise. Estimates are still murky, but experts predict combined totals in property losses might run up to $200 billion, though that is a conservative guess. Harvey, Irma, Sandy, Irene, Ike, Katrina, Wilma, Ivan, Charley and Andrew — we know their names. They are the 10 costliest hurricanes in American history. The combined death toll of this wrecking crew stands at around 2,000 people — and the costs come to almost $500 billion. These totals cannot even begin to calculate the psychological and political impact that Atlantic hurricanes have exerted on American life over the past 30 years. But we do not have a focused place where the world can gather to mourn and to learn from these disasters. That should change with the creation of a National Hurricane Memorial and Museum. Furthermore, such a museum would be the ideal place to foster a national dialogue on the connection between individual hurricanes and the slow disaster of climate change that is increasing their violence and frequency. It could be that a generation from now we would rename it the National Climate Change and Hurricane Memorial and Museum. For now, it’s enough to make a statement of national unity: we respect the dead, we learn from their deaths to reduce suffering for the living and we commit to disaster reduction for future generations.