I took this calm picture only 5 hours before the tornado hit.
Yesterday, in the wee dark morning hours of Tuesday, March 3rd, most of Middle Tennessee including Franklin, awoke to chaos. We knew troubling storms were coming, but we had no idea that once the sun rose, the devastation would be our reality. A tornado touched ground to the west of Nashville’s downtown and razed through the city leaving destruction in its path. It would not stop. The tornado touched down near John C. Tune Airport and tracked continuously east through North Nashville, Germantown, East Nashville, and continued on into Donelson, Hermitage, Mt. Juliet, and Lebanon. More than 50 miles of destruction, 25 lives lost, and to this date, three people are still missing.
As the lightning storm first hit the area, some awoke and turned on the TV. Thankfully, many of us began to closely follow Twitter account @NashSevereWx . We watched as Twitter followers posted videos of tornadoes coming, videos of roofs torn off, testimonies of lives that barely made it to safe shelter. In the aftermath, many lives were saved due to the diligence and commitment of this community-supported weather account. Unfortunately, the city’s dated warning systems and a few crap apps didn’t work when it was dire.
The storm passed. As the sun came up, the day’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The views, however, were far from perfect. Businesses and homes were no longer standing, churches were torn in half. Cars were thrown blocks away from their night’s parking spot. Warehouses were stripped of their walls. It was devastation in its purest form.
As the hours passed, something miraculous began. Middle Tennessee was no longer just a community, it instantly became a family. It was all hands on deck. The term Nashville Strong quickly become not only a motto, but it became a mission. Free rooms, couches, and food were offered to those in need. Crews of ordinary folks came through neighborhoods to check buildings, move debris, help victims, and support neighborhood businesses. Restaurants who survived the storm opened up their kitchens and made sure no one went hungry. The donations of time, supplies, and much-needed money came flooding in, even before anyone had time to ask.
Nashville will build again, there is no doubt. This new Tennessee family though has grown in ways I have never seen. There is a sense of determined calm over the city now, the work continues, the help keeps coming. This is why we love living here. The draw isn’t about Southern hospitality or country music, the people you meet here really are honest-to-goodness friendly. What’s even more amazing is how all of us newcomers have wantingly accepted this role too.
Today, this confirmed introvert found herself at Costco easily chatting it up with a towering burly man over grinding coffee beans. He accepted my help with a genuine smile, and I laughed at his deep Southern colloquialism, “Well that ain’t no more trouble than a lil’ ol’ minner” When I asked for a translation he sweetly enunciated, “Now that’s deep South for, ‘It’s easier than a little old minnow.’” From now on, when people ask what it’s like living in Tennessee I’ll tell them that it makes you a better person and I’ll give the same reply, “It ain’t no more trouble than a lil’ ol’ minner.”
An easy way to help our tornado victims is to purchase this shirt from Project 615, 100% of the proceeds will go to the victims. The Franklin Visitors Center is also serving as a drop-off site for donations of non-perishable food, and reusable bags.