17 Years Later: The Boxing Day Tsunami – Redfora
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17 Years Later: The Boxing Day Tsunami

DEC 26, 2021

Written by: Steve Eberlein

Seventeen years ago, just two years into our marriage, my wife and I found ourselves in Sri Lanka living out the chaotic, scary and tragic aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami. Seventeen years later, I have told our story hundreds of times - from stages, conference rooms, virtually, and in writing. It’s been a catalyst for me to catalyze others to prepare, especially in my home territory.

But somewhere along the way, the tsunami became compartmentalized for me. I recite the numbers killed, the countries and regions affected, the chaos of the tsunami’s aftermath in my every talk with a fluency and perfection that can only come with several hundred tellings. Via repetition the emotional cracks in my voice became smooth and my access to the original feelings of the experience became more tenuous.

As a preparedness educator, that distance is acceptable. As a storyteller, I recognize that I can no longer tell you how terrible that event was or properly honor its 250,000 victims or the millions still haunted every holiday season. So I’m grateful to my wife for her willingness to open this video for me. More importantly, I’m grateful that she was there with me and ever since. I hope that this causes you to remember, reflect, and to prepare.