My View: Keeping Greensburg on the map
Three years ago I would not have been able to point to Greensburg on a map. In fact, if it weren't for the cross-Kansas road trip I took in the summer of 2005, I may not have even known about the town until the enhanced F-5 tornado destroyed it this spring.
I didn't take the trip specifically looking for Greensburg. Part of the reason for the trip was to stop at as many small out-of-the-way places that contained the words "world's/state's largest (blank)," while my girlfriend and I worked our way up to South Dakota.
We would have skipped Greensburg, but there was something that caught my eye about the small little town tucked away on U.S. Highway 54. According to my Rand McNally road atlas, Greensburg was the home of the world's largest hand-dug well and, as I later found out, it was the home of, then, the world's largest Pallasite meteorite.
This was a perfect stop.
To be honest, I didn't think much about Greensburg after the trip. And when I did, it was probably just in mentioning during a conversation when I would boast about my knee-trembling descent down a metal staircase toward the bottom of the Big Well. But after every mention of Greensburg, I would get a pleasant feeling thinking about the small little town that was quite literally put on the map because of its large well.
That's why the news of its almost-complete destruction really came as a shock to me. That pleasant feeling was soon replaced with a sad mourning for the town that really didn't have much else going on besides the Big Well -- I mean it, I saw the sign that said, "Greensburg Activities: The Big Well."
But this time I didn't fall into the same old pattern and forget about the town. I tried to follow the news and keep up on what was happening and soon the feeling of loss began to disappear as I read about the amount of support coming from all over the state for our fellow Kansans.
Not only was the support overwhelming, but also to find the silver lining in all of this, the state, and even the country, now has a unique opportunity to rebuild a city from scratch.
And from what I've read Greensburg is going to have the opportunity to live up to its name and be one of the first environmentally friendly towns.
I applaud the efforts people have made to help out the city and its residents, and I applaud the efforts to make a greener Greensburg and to rebuild the Big Well. In the long run I hope Greensburg does become the model for environmentally friendly towns, and I hope this is what will keep it on the map.