I’m not certain if I can get my head around this tragedy. I will say that I’m absolutely sick about it. Having grown up in Minnesota and gone to college in St. Paul, and having lived about two miles from the I-35W bridge, I can’t tell you how often I’ve traversed that bridge over the years. As I see the growing collection of pictures, and as the security camera footage of the bridge’s collapse is repeated as if in an endless loop, it all still seems very unreal. I may no longer live in Minneapolis, and I may hate the climate, but I love the Twin Cities, and it pains me to see a metropolitan area I love from afar suffering in this manner.
The death toll will undoubtedly continue to grow, and the stories of survivors and witnesses will continue to fill in some of the blanks regarding what happened shortly after 6pm CDT yesterday. Many of those on the bridge were headed to the Minnesota Twins- Kansas City Royals game at the Metrodome, just a short distance from the site of the bridge collapse. The game went on as scheduled after team and city officials determined that postponing the game would send thousands out into a potentially unsafe situation, possibly even complicating rescue and recovery efforts. The game’s first pitch was set for just a bit over an hour after the bridge collapsed, and at that time there was still a lot of confusion about exactly what had happened. Playing the game under such circumstances may seem insensitive, but from a public safety standpoint it made sense. I can’t help but wonder how many of the fans (and players) at the game had traversed the I-35W bridge on their way to the Metrodome?
Over the next few days and weeks, stories will begin to emerge, stories of survival and tragedy that no one could have expected to emerge from a seemingly-normal Minneapolis rush hour. Speaking for myself, I’m still in shock. Minneapolis may not be where I live, but it is and always will be home. Right now, my home and it’s inhabitants are hurting…and any healing seems a long ways off.
I don’t even know what to say at a time like this….