Saving America – Page 1

Chapter 1 : American The Broken

In early April 1987, after Sunday morning pancakes at my parents’ farm in upstate New York, I made the 225- mile journey west back to college. When I returned to campus after the four- hour drive, I heard the news (this was way before the instant information age, and most people didn’t even have the toaster- sized cell phones of that era, including me). A bridge on the New York State Thruway had collapsed, and ten people had died. The bridge was only five miles east of where I had gotten on the Thruway.

Some twenty years later, I turned on the television to learn of another, even deadlier, tragedy playing out across the nation’s airwaves. On August 1, 2007, right in the middle of rush hour, the westbound I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River. This failure came without warning to the occupants of 111 vehicles idling in jam- packed traffic. Thirteen people were killed and 145 injured. Some of the victims were disfigured for life and remain haunted by the unfathomable events of that day.

One of these victims was Garrett Ebling, who was heading home from a company picnic he had organized. Ebling called his fiancée from the car with an update, then rolled down his windows and cranked up some music for the drive back to his apartment across the Mississippi River. Within moments, Ebling felt a powerful jolt. Brake lights on several cars ahead of him glowed red in unison, then spilled off the road into a gaping hole. A split second later, the ground beneath his own vehicle gave way. Ebling was weightless, and the world cut to slow motion. As his car tipped forward into a downward slide, he braced… Next Page