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January 31, 2011



Brisbane's moment

By Nancy Hsu

Reporter, Youth Journalism International


Photo by Mei Goh/

BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia – We had a moment there, Brisbane.

To you, the checkout clerk at Woolworths who frantically scanned customers’ products so that people could quickly get home safe to their families – we had a moment.

To you, families who gathered together only to sit in silence and awe at televised updates of how the floods were tearing up their own city – we had a moment.

To you, people who were on the last bus running before public transport screeched to an alarming halt – we had a moment.

To you, emergency workers who worked around the clock to save the lives of affected people, who didn’t get to go home that night to families and hot food – we had a moment.

To you, the Bosnian lady whose house we cleaned up, who insisted we take her cakes and drinks for our work, who called us family when all we’d done was help her pick out her plants that had died with the flood waters – we had a moment.

To you, the 17-year-old neighbor who already didn’t have much, but offered to provide storage space for an old lady’s furniture – we had a moment.

To you, the families of those killed by the floods, the families with whom the whole of Brisbane and Queensland cried with for our loss – we had a moment.

To you, Jordan Rice, the 13-year-old kid who sacrificed his own life so that his brother could be saved, the boy we will forever think of in times when we need to remember what true courage is – we had a moment.

To you, Warren McErlean, the guy who did a doubletake when he saw the Rice family and risked his life to try to save them – we had a moment.

In those few nail-biting days of anticipation before the onset of the floods, we locked eyes with a complete stranger and we had a moment.

Nothing had to be said. We understood the pain and loss the disaster was causing all Brisbanites.

For a moment, there we were, all united by a common thread. No matter how traumatic, we were in it together, and we had a moment.


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