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At Rocky Mount Trailer Park, Holiday Spirit Survives Flooding

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ROCKY MOUNT — For the thousands of North Carolina victims of Hurricane Floyd this will be a tough Christmas to celebrate.

But the Christmas spirit does not die easily. Even after all they have been through, many flood victims are determined to find joy this season.

At the FEMA trailer park in Rocky Mount, hundreds of people left homeless by the storm are staying -- and decorating.

Nativity scenes, bells, garlands, lights can all be found in the trailer park, which has become a new neighborhood for people brought together by flood waters.

Tucked away amid lots of other trailers is one owned by Annie Greene. In spite of her life being turned upside down, she has used simple lights to celebrate the holidays.

"It's a way to celebrate what the Lord did for me. He could have taken me away, but He didn't. He spared my life and I am celebrating this in his name. I thank him for everything He did for me and for everything He will do for me in the future. Because I really believe in what He said, that He will lead you, that He will never forsake you."

Felicia Cofield is another who was happy to decorate her temporary home.

"Just remember that He died for us, and if He had not died for us we would not be here today, we would not be living, there wouldn't be a holiday," Cofield said. "He spared our lives and that gives me the authority to want to set up for his birthday."

The decorations do not mean, of course, that everything is all right. Many people are dealing with emotional distress and feelings of loss. But others have found that putting up seasonal decorations is a comforting act of worship and provides a bit of normality.

It is also a mark of their resilience.

One woman was asked if outsiders would think, under the circumstances, she is crazy to decorate. "It is something I want to do. I am a Christian. I want to do this," she declared.


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