During the bumper-to-bumper evening rush hour on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the 8 lane I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis spanning the Mississippi River collapsed, crushing cars and sending countless vehicles and people plummeting into the water. This horrible tragedy is one that has left the entire area and nation shaken with disbelief, paralyzed with the images of twisted steel, crushed concrete and vehicles submerged in the water. Terrorist activity has all been ruled out, but the impact of the catastrophe is no less painful then if someone purposely attacked the bridge; an unknown number of people are dead, many hurt, and a major road and shipping channel closed causing economic impact that this area has never experienced.
Minneapolis is a “small big city,” even with nearly 3 million people in the Twin Cities metro, it is a lot like Cheers; everybody knows your name. Unlike most of the United States experiencing increased transience of their residents as they move for other pastures, Minnesota remains a place where people continue to embrace neighborhood, friends and family. I often tease my husband and other friends that Minnesota ranks only second to Hawaii as the least migratory state; Over 90% of the people who are born here live their entire lives in the state. But this dedication to the state gives the people of the Twin Cities much of the same strength, fortitude, spirit, camaraderie and determination shown after the September attacks that made me very proud to be a New Yorker. Although the first reaction is always, “this kind of stuff doesn’t happen here,” it has happened here, and the people here will band together to get through this horrible time.