[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/01/bridgebridge.jpg caption="Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis after it collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007"]
Earlier this week when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California, cameras at a “Judge Judy” taping captured a rare glimpse of the moments during the quake. You can see the panic as a once stable room starts to rock and roll.
Thankfully there were no fatalities or serious injuries – but as I watched the video, it was the first time I could really imagine how unnerving it would be to be in an earthquake. Despite what is going on in the world, there is a certain comfort that can found in standing on solid ground.
With the one year anniversary of the Minneapolis bridge collapse approaching, my thoughts quickly turned to another group of people whose world actually crumbled beneath them. Over the past year, I have thought of them often.
On Aug. 1, 2007, I sat at my desk at CNN’s New York offices and watched terrified, unable to get through to family members or friends in my hometown of Minneapolis as the story unfolded and images of the mangled bridge began to appear on television.
The next day, I was in Minneapolis helping find guests and stories for the show. One of my most memorable moments was with a guest who had been driving the day before when her car plunged off the bridge into the Mississippi. We were standing together at dusk on the roof of a building near the collapse where our live shot was set up. She somehow managed to survive the fall and escape from her submerged vehicle that was pinned under water between concrete slabs and debris.
She bravely agreed to take the crazy freight elevator (hard hat not optional) to the top of the building, which quite frankly, jilted me. Peering down in the distance with her at the wreckage, I simply could not believe she was standing next to me – standing, at times smiling, and making jokes. She talked about being underwater and thinking that she had to get out because she had fun plans for the weekend and this just couldn’t be the end. It is amazing to be reminded what resilient creatures we are; what the human spirit can endure.
Kim Dahl, who was driving a school bus filled of children and Lindsay Petterson were also on the bridge. They are part of an active online community, sharing their thoughts and journey of the last year. Their stories can be found here:
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