Because it is Nashville, a new song starts tomorrow

Like every Nashvillian, I’m hurting for my city tonight.

The past three days — but especially today, May 3 — will go down as one of the most challenging three day-periods in the city’s history — one that includes a major Civil War Battle and the most deadly train wreck in America’s history (in 1918, 101 were killed). After a weekend during which the record for a two-day rainfall was broken — and doubled, the city’s Cumberland River, as I write this, is cresting 12 feet above its flood stage and water is inundating some of the most significant economic, civic, cultural and sports structures in the city.

At last count, ten people in Nashville have been killed by flooding waters and there will likely be more as at least two young men are missing. A mile away from my home this evening, the bodies of an elderly couple were found in Richland Creek, likely drowned after being swept away by the rampaging creek that had breached its banks and was flooding across Harding Road.

downtown nashville flood, may 2010

View a larger version
of this panoramic photo

by Kelsey Wynns to get
a sense of Nashville’s downtown
on Monday, May 3, 2010.

Many of the institutions Nashville is most famous for are under water at this hour.

The flooded landmarks include one of the city’s economic linchpins, the 2,000-room Opryland Hotel and the adjacent Opry House in the city’s eastern suburbs. And, downtown, many of the marquee structures of the city’s redevelopment and resurgence of the past two decades are flodded, including LP Field, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans; Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL Nashville Predators, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the city’s newest icon of local civic pride, the Schemerhorn Symphony Center.

And yet, as Keith Olbermann observed in that short video at the top of this post, Nashville’s disaster has been bumped by national news outlets because it has occurred during the days when an unexploded bomb was found in Times Square and an oil slick was bearing down on the Louisiana coast and people were protesting in Arizona.

As I can handle only so many disasters at a time myself, I completely understand why the Nashville story lost out to the missing driver of the SUV. Still, in areas north, south, east and west of Nashville, there are thousands of people who have homes underwater. And thousands of people who work at the Opryland Hotel and small and large business all over town are worried tonight about not getting back to work for weeks, or months or ever.

It’s hard to believe what has happened in Nashville the past three days –even I’m having a hard time getting my head around it. But one thing is for sure: the folks here in Middle Tennessee will pull together.

Along with the disbelief we’ll have when we recall the images of our city underwater, we’ll look back and remember how that, right after the Cumberland River began to recede during the early morning hours of May 4, 2010, people started pulling together to begin drying, cleaning, rebuilding and restoring a city and region we love — and we love to call home.

And because it’s Nashville, I also predict there will be at least one county song commemorating this event that will become a hit.

If you’d like to help, my recommendation is to contribute to the flood relief fund set up by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Below: Photos people have uploaded to Flicker tagged with “Nashville Flood”: