News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Roll Tide, and give up those hotel reservations

Some of The University of Alabama football fans take as much pride in getting weekend hotel reservations in Tuscaloosa as they do in getting tickets to the games.

Thus, when faced with the reality that refugees from Hurricane Katrina might still be in those rooms Saturday night when the Crimson Tide kicks off the 2005 season, they were naturally disappointed.

Some fans wanted the refugees booted out, but most apparently agreed to give up their reservations. One hotel operator reported that some fans even agreed to pay for the refugees to keep the rooms for the reserved days.

Athletic director Mal Moore sent e-mails to 50,000 Tide fans Wednesday, asking them to give up their rooms, if possible.

Sure, it's possible. Anyone responsible for displacing these unfortunate people one more time must be an ogre of the worst kind.

The overwhelming fan response mirrors how other Alabamians along the interstate evacuation routes are responding with kindness and generosity.

Giving up rooms associated with a football weekend is, of course, trivial. Helping these refugees meet their daily needs for as long as they have no homes might require greater sacrifices from each of us.

The devastation along the Gulf Coast is so complete that people, even when they can return, have no home, jobs, and schools.

Most refugees who made it as far as Decatur have financial resources. But money will run out quickly for most families. Some, because of what is expected to be a lengthy stay, will have nothing but what local communities are making available. And that is going to require more of us than giving up our place to sleep after a ball game.

The Volunteer Center of Morgan County is the clearinghouse for local activities. It is at 708 Sixth Ave., S.E. The telephone number is 355-8628.

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