Wednesday marked the 81st anniversary of the Okeechobee Hurricane (1928) and tragic dike collapse that followed. (see NOAA memorial)
That seems like a long time ago, but to the children who survived it, and carried the horror and loss of it with them their entire lives, it’s a powerful reminder that time does not heal old wounds.
We need to remind ourselves that we will never forget.
Towards that ends, a memorial service for the fateful day and the people involved was held in Martin County. (see article).
The catastrophe spurred Florida to better fortify the banks of the Lake.
In came the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Seven years later it was completed:
But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the perimeter levee was built to fully encircle the lake, as part of the 25-year water re-engineering project called the Central and South Florida Project.
We take water projects for granted,
There’s no better example than the tragic breach of the levee barrier surrounding New Orleans during the storm-swollen seas of Hurricane Katrina (2005).
That spurred a second look at the great earthen wall surrounding the Big Lake.
Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is back in action on Hoover Dike, this time overseeing installation of a seepage barrier – called a “cutoff wall” – down its spine for much of its 143-mile length, plus other re-engineering and contingency plan actions.
We can’t repair history (sadly, that’s water under the bridge),
But we can strengthen a levee so that history doesn’t repeat itself: