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We Are not What We Own

In April 1997, residents of Grand Forks, North Dakota abandoned their possessions to the rising river. Record snowfalls had melted into record spring floods. Weeks later, the flood receded and Grand Forks was waterlogged--the air filled with a peculiar, river smell. Homeless and disheartened, the city began the daunting task of cleaning up the mess.

The flood may have ruined their homes, but it didn't ruin their sense of humor. Homeowners propped up signs in their front yards with comical handwritten messages on them: "BASEMENT APARTMENT, $10 A MONTH, INDOOR POOL...," "REVENGE OF THE NIGHTCRAWLERS," and "WE KNOW WE'RE LUCKY--PLEASE STOP PRAYING FOR MORE GOOD FORTUNE."

One sign had a very thought-provoking message..."WE ARE NOT WHAT WE OWN." The editor of the local Herald agreed, "If we were what we owned, we'd be far less than we were before the flood." The truth is, we are worth far more than our possessions. Our personal wealth does not indicate our personal worth.

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