NU to The Rescue

My latest print publication has now been released in the Norwich Record: NU To The Rescue. I contributed to this piece, which outlines Norwich University’s response to the flooding from Hurricane Irene in central Vermont. My contribution outlines the similarities between the response of 2011 and that of 1927, when Vermont was struck by a legendary flood that devastated the state. In both instances, Norwich stepped up to the plate and helped bring about the recovery in Northfield and in other towns in the area:

DEJA VU

Though separated by 84 years, the parallels between Tropical Storm Irene and the flood of 1927 are hard to miss.

Drive through any small Vermont town and make note of the plaques bolted to the sides of the bridges. More often than not the structures were built in 1928 or 1929, a lasting reminder of the devastation of the great flood of 1927. Then, as now, Norwich University students and staff were instrumental in rescue and relief efforts in Northfield and the surrounding areas.

Due to an unusually wet fall, by late October 1927, river banks all over Vermont were swollen and approaching their limits. A confluence of cold and warm fronts on Wednesday, November 2, resulted in three consecutive days of steady rain. By Friday, torrential downpours resulted in almost nine inches of precipitation on top of the already saturated ground. The result was horrific: 84 Vermonters lost their lives in the ensuing floods—yet incredibly, not a single person in Northfield perished.

The floodwaters, which rose upwards of 15 feet over the banks of the Dog River and Union Brook, transformed the downtown area into a veritable lake. Sophomore Glenn Leet ’30 wrote, “Almost all of the bridges were down, there were no lights or power, and communication with the rest of the world was cut off.”

You can read the rest of the piece over here.

Researching the history of the school is something that I’ve begun to do more with in recent years, and every single time, I’m astounded at the cadets, students and alumni of the school. It makes me very proud to be part of the school’s heritage, and something that I’m very, very happy to document for future readers.

Advertisements