Sandy: a storm that changed Long Island

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We had never seen a tempest the likes of Hurricane Sandy before, one so mammoth, so fierce, that it wiped out whole shoreline communities while leaving much of the rest of the Northeast in tatters, and in the dark. Sandy, which struck on Oct. 29, 2012, was nature in its most raw and unforgiving form. It was the nightmare before Halloween.

Two years later, a number of families whose homes were destroyed in the storm remain refugees, living with friends and relatives, in hotels and, in at least one case, in a church, anxiously awaiting government or insurance funding to repair their houses and their lives. We must not forget them. Long Island’s South Shore will not be made whole again until all of our displaced residents are back in their homes.

Our elected leaders must redouble their efforts to aid those victims, as well as those who are still unable to restart their businesses. Giving a voice to the voiceless is our government’s solemn obligation.

At the same time, we have much for which to be thankful. The storm united communities. We realized that we are all neighbors and friends. Together, we got through the dark days and the cold nights that followed. We mustn’t forget that.

In the days, weeks and months after the storm, many Long Island communities resembled war zones, with demolition debris overflowing from dumpsters onto streets. An army of government and private contractors fanned out across the South Shore to repair the damage, working endless days and nights in the cold and the damp to make us whole again. We survived. For the most part, we have rebuilt Sandy-damaged homes and businesses. Our response to this natural disaster was a testament to our fortitude, our resiliency.

Now the great challenge is to rebuild our infrastructure better than before, so that future generations may never have to endure the horror we experienced two years ago.

For more of the Herald's coverage of the second anniversary of Sandy, click here or here, or view photos from the storm here.