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So I'm watching the 12/12/12 concert and loving every minute of it.  I read a few messages boards and have just been utterly disgusted with people.  Someone asked if people were going to watch.  One person said 'no.  There are disaster all over the country.  Why is this one so special to get a concert?' or something to that effect.  I'm not belitting the disasters in the midwest or California or anywhere else in this country.  But what I don't think people understand is that New Jersey is the most densely populated state!  We have nearly 1200 people per square mile.  The majority of those people live near the ocean or one of the many bays, rivers, tributaries, that flooded.  Not to mention the trees that fell and caused even more damage.  It wasn't just a minor hurricane.  It was a SUPERSTORM!  The stories I've heard of how one house on a block was completely destroyed while their neighbors were spared.  Parts of the barrier island look like a tornado ripped through it.  Hell, even parts of my town, parts that aren't even close to the water were completely devastated.  I walked down the highway the morning after the storm and saw an entire neighborhood completely destroyed.  I saw boats thrown around like a giant's play toys.  I helped my grandmother and family gut the house of my childhood summers.  A house she may never be able to live in again.  We saved what we could but there is nothing worse than watching your 85 year old grandmother, a woman whom as she's aged has become more outspoken, stay silent as her life is brought out to the curb.

Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that while yes other parts of the country have seen devastation before none quite so impactful and expensive as this one.  Billions of dollars are going to be needed to rebuild.  To get us back to some semblance of normalcy.  This was not a storm we could have ever expected.  We hear a hurricane is coming to New Jersey and we think just a little bit of rain and some minor flooding.  We ignore it.  We won't ever ignore it again.  This was a storm that changed all of our lives.  No matter how little you may have been affected.  If you live/lived in the state of New Jersey this storm affected someone you know.  Some place you grew up going.

I have so much more I feel like I need to say on this topic but I truly feel like it's finally all hitting me.  I've seen the pictures, heard the first hand accounts, and even been a witness to some things but for the first time I've actually sat and thought about this on a new level.  My home, despite how much I may bitch and moan about it, will never be the same.  New Jersey is my home.  The Jersey Shore is my home.  Nothing will ever compare to GiGi's pizza, fireworks, and the cool, damp sand of Manasquan.  Nothing will ever remind me of home more than that nasty swampy, salty, smell of low tide.  The one Mark absolutely hates but I love more than anything in this world.  As I drive south on the parkway the moment that scent fills my nose I know I'm one step closer to those beaches of my childhood.  Jersey Girl til the day I die and oh so proud. 

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