Symbols of Hope

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo taken Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, Ray Marten poses with the street number sign he recovered from the ashes of his fire-destroyed home in the Belle Harbor section of the Queens borough of New York.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo taken Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, Ray Marten poses with the street number sign he recovered from the ashes of his fire-destroyed home in the Belle Harbor section of the Queens borough of New York.

In the blackened ruins of his home that burned to the ground in the Rockaways neighborhood of Belle Harbor, Ray Marten held up a plaque that shows his house number: 418. The plaque was pulled from the smoldering wreckage the day after the storm. Now it has become an emblem of the family’s determination to rise up from the ashes. “This is going on our new house,” Marten said. “Because we do plan on rebuilding.”

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo of Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, Paul Ciccarello views a Kodachrome slide outside his home in the oceanside community of Breezy Point in New York.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo of Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, Paul Ciccarello views a Kodachrome slide outside his home in the oceanside community of Breezy Point in New York.

NEW YORK (AP) – The storm that took so much from so many people left behind little fragments of homes and lives destroyed by flood and fire. Pulled from the wreckage, these objects have become symbols of hope, reminders that not all was lost. The Associated Press has compiled a slideshow of people with the objects that have given them comfort after the storm.

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig). In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 18, 2012, Joanne McClenin holds a baptismal certificate for her father, Joseph Pompa, in her home, which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, New York.

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig). In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 18, 2012, Joanne McClenin holds a baptismal certificate for her father, Joseph Pompa, in her home, which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, New York.

Her late father’s baptismal certificate was washed out of Joanne McClenin’s backyard shed when Sandy came to Staten Island, carried off by the rapids that wove through the low-lying streets. But days after the storm, the document reappeared on her doorstep. Discovered by a Good Samaritan who recognized her father’s name, the precious piece of paper made its way back home.

“I was there for them in their time of need,” McClenin said of her parents, who lived around the corner from her until they died. “I feel like now he’s there for me.”

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens). In this photo taken Nov. 19, 2012, Roseanne Schnoll holds her parents' wedding album, a keepsake item she recovered from workers were cleaning out her flooded basement and garage in the Belle Harbor neighborhood New York.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens). In this photo taken Nov. 19, 2012, Roseanne Schnoll holds her parents’ wedding album, a keepsake item she recovered from workers were cleaning out her flooded basement and garage in the Belle Harbor neighborhood New York.

 

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo taken Nov. 18, 2012, Glenn DiResto poses with a photograph he took after Superstorm Sandy, in the Far Rockaway section of the Queens borough of New York.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan). In this photo taken Nov. 18, 2012, Glenn DiResto poses with a photograph he took after Superstorm Sandy, in the Far Rockaway section of the Queens borough of New York.

The sight of a tattered American flag flying high above the destroyed boardwalk in Far Rockaway gave comfort to retired police officer Glenn DiResto, who owns several homes that were flooded in the storm. He snapped a photograph of the image as a reminder to keep faith.

“Although our little beach front town was devastated by the storm,” DiResto wrote in an email, “this flag demonstrates the inspiration and spirit of the American people and the people from the Rockaways.

It would be wonderful if hope were something you worked hard to get and then kept at the ready like a smooth stone in your pocket. But hope has a life cycle of its own – sometimes strong and palpable, sometimes weak and vaporous. And it is often not very smooth. Hope requires reflection, courage, perseverance, faith and the support of others. It is not just one thing or found in just one place.

Every culture – modern and ancient – has found the need to make a mark trying to express this concept. It is no easy task. We are all so individual about what inspires us, what speaks to our hearts. Symbols of Hope are important to all of us.

 

 

 

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