I have never been able to wrap my mind around the fact that so many died during the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Eight thousand Galveston residents, 20% of the population at that time, gone. The numbers just don't seem to make any sense... it's just not possible. A moment of silence for the dead.
The United States Weather Bureau at the time knew that there was a storm in the Gulf, but refused to believe that it was even possible that it could cross all the way west to the Texas coast. Isaac Cline, chief meteorologist at the Galveston Weather Bureau at the time, tried to warn the people of Galveston when he saw the seas rising, the slick oily swells coming in 12 hours before the storm was to hit. But it was too late.
After the storm, there were so many bodies that they decided to float them out to sea on barges, then weight them down for burial at sea. But the current brought the bodies back to shore, floating, rotting in the September sun. There simply is no way to sugar coat this. The threat for the spread of disease and the impossible number of dead forced survivors to pile up the dead on the beach and burn them. A process that took weeks to complete.
My imagination tries to go there but for whatever reason, reverence, fear, I just can't get there. The mind is designed to protect itself from trauma like this. Peace to those who did what had to be done after the storm, and prayer to those who perished.
(© 2016 KHOU)