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Katrina: 9 years

Every year on this day, I tend to stay silent on social media. While everyone posts their memories and Katrina tributes, I find myself pulling back, averting my eyes as they pour out their tragedies. It will never stop being painful, reliving these stories, remembering through everyone else's eyes and my own. But, as much as I hurt, I was hella, hella fortunate. G and I were in Houston, because I was in graduate school. I convinced my ailing father, on the day before Katrina came ashore, to get the hell out of harms way. My sister took her babies and hit the road. My brother left. My family was scattered, but everyone was safe. And when the water receded, what we lost -- our homes, our clothes, our physical memories and family things -- those were just things, just stuff. We were fortunate in ways that so many weren't. So today, though my heart grieves for the city that was lost, the people that were lost, the culture that was drowned at the hands of man, I stay silent because my voice isn't the one that needs to be heard.

Death don't come in vain
Not for us to remain enslaved
Or our spirits to remain in cages
It comes so we might be courageous
To fulfill our obligation
To our god and all creation
To stand in determination
Able to look death in the face
And say, "We made it."

--Sunni Patterson