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August 2, 2007 | 25 Comments

A note from Garrison Keillor:

After the tragic collapse of the Interstate bridge over the Mississippi, scores of you have e-mailed to ask if we're all accounted for and all right, and so far as we can tell, the answer seems to be yes. We're on a relaxed summer schedule in August and many of the staff are taking days off. Life is fragile, though, and there are plenty of reminders. The daughter of a musician who's been on the show since the early days was just shot in Cape Town, South Africa, by a young man who wanted her knapsack. The bullet passed within a millimeter of her heart and grazed a lung. She is expected to recover. Grandma has flown in to help care for the daughter's infant child. And we think of the rescue workers who are doing the dangerous work of recovery even now — may God watch and preserve them.


Hello Garrison,
I also have been thinking of you and the PHC team, praying for stength for all in need.
Thank-you for the update and your words of encouragement. I am looking forward to reading your new book. Peace be with you.
Pam Pederson, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

Glad to here you are all ok. God keep all the workers and survivors and lets hope this never happens again!


Never have I been more proud to be a (former) Minnesotan than when I read about the man who sped down the West River Parkway on his motorcycle to help rescue those who had crashed into the river yesterday, or about the Minneapolis police officers who vaulted the high fences down near University Avenue on their way to who knew what in the water. The trucker and the others who helped pull those children from the Waite Center school bus are just more of the nameless heroes who rose up to help their neighbors.

Once again the PHC family shows its class with G.K's timely comments on the bridge tragedy. We transplanted Minnesotans around the nation feel distant today, but your neighborly words bring comfort and perspective. Thank you.

Jim Banke
Cape Canaveral, FL


You are the first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions the Twin Cities. Glad those at PHC are accounted for but we grieve for those killed and injured. We will be thinking of you all during these tough times.

John Schroeder
Chandler, AZ

Deeply upset by the tragic events of yesterday and the immediate jump to conclusions of the media. Had to put my thoughts on paper. Not a poet. Just trying to express what it is I feel.

On the shores of Big Muddy lies our reality
We’re hurt, uncertain and angry
Some even paid the ultimate price
While we look for answers that may never be truly known
It’s hard not to lay blame
Was it a fluke?
Could it have been spared?
Did someone with an evil agenda get behind our patriotic wall of defense?
Who knows?
And now we shouldn’t care
There will be time for answers
Now is the time for healing those who are hurt
Reassuring those who are confused
And supporting those who grieve
We are strong people
Made stronger by adversity, not fear

I'm so happy to know that all at PHC are safe and accounted for. Thoughts and prayers to you and all the folks involved in this terrible situation.

Thanks for the update today on the PHC family and friends in the aftermath of the bridge tragedy...Watching and listening to all the news coverage,you can be sure that I have been sending plenty of prayers your way.

From one of your Ohio River Southern Indiana friends, Hoosier Beth

Dear Garrison,
I, like others here, immediately thought of you and the rest of the Prairie Home Companion gang when I heard the news yesterday. I am so glad to read that you are all safe and sound. My best wishes for a full recovery for the daughter in South Africa.
It is heartening to read of the good samaritans all over Minneapolis and St. Paul who offered a helping hand and a loving heart to those in need.
Good luck to your city in the coming days.

To the comment about life being fragile, to that I say "hear hear!" It's things that happen close to home that really hit this home. Recently in Skaneateles NY there was a boating accident on the lake and being a small town many knew who the victim and his fiance where or his family. And everyone in town was once again reminded that we shouldn't take life for granted as many of us so often do unknowingly. Live life to the fullest. As tragic as many occurences seem, we must remember those involved in it, and learn from it. People tend to be closer in times of crisis and despair, and it should be that way always. God bless those afflicted, involved in rescue, and the vicitms who are either injured that they may heal and to those on their way back to their heavenly home

Garrison,PHC Family and all Minnesotans,
Through many years of listening and attending the PHC broadcasts I have come know and love you from afar(Austin,Texas).Especially the stories of Lake Wobegon, whose characters seem like neighbors to me now.I am sending a neighborly note to say that thoughts and prayers are with you from Texas and I am certain all over the country.Garrison has done a fine job of representing Minnestons, his stories showcase a homespun simple humor as well as a steely strength and backbone that will surely sustain you now.

Dear Garrison--

I was so very thankful to read that you and your staff and safe. This is such a tragic situation for your city. We travel a lot, crossing bridges over rivers. It had not occurred to us that something like this could happen......short of terrorism. Now, we see that there were warnings, two years ago, that the bridge was unsafe. How sad that we can't trust our states to make repairs before tragedies happen.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all and with your fellow Minnesotans. That sounds so trite and yet it is all a sad and helpless person can say.

God bless you all.

Jennifer, a lifelong PHC fan, Chicago

Lifelong Californian here who knows Minnesota and that area primarily through the gentle and loving humor of PHC each week. Thank you for letting us know that your own radio family is unscathed, and know that even jaded Los Angeles types out here (in a city not unacquainted with disaster) are praying for solace for your neighbors there.

Lord have mercy. I was thinking just now in watching the news from afar of Thornton Wilder's novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. A priest investigates a bridge collapse outside Lima that killed several people, and why. Its ending, which always haunted me: 'There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.'

Itend to listen to another show due to time constraints. I do miss the p. Home Companion. Mom brought me up on your stories. I enjoy stories and jokes because each can lend itself to a certain truth. Seth

Come home safely, APHC -- we need you!

Chicago carries the Twin Cities in our hearts....

A loyal Cubs and Whippets fan

What a blessed relief to hear that you and the PHC family are all okay and accounted for. Your devoted fans in Kansas send along thoughts of support to all of your fellow Minnesotans. It was heartwarming to watch those who unselfishly helped in the is easy to now understand why you have such pride for your beloved Minnesota.

Dear Garrison,

Even though I have never actually lived in Minnesota, my heart is close. I have many relatives in Minnesota and was just back for my Grandma's funeral a couple weeks ago. People kept mentioning how old the highways are. I remember driving over the Mississippi river on the 94 and thinking about how many bridges were there. I am glad to hear that you are all doing well. My prayers are with those who are missing loved ones. Thank you for the update.

Michele Batchler, Fullerton, CA

As a listener since rhe early 70's (sitting on the grass at Normandale JC) I'd like to thank you for your timely and kind comments relative to the tragic bridge collapse. That and the news coverage showing the heros from the Twin Cities made me proud to be "from" there.

Kansas City

Thanks so much, Garrison, for the update on the safety of the Prairie Home Companion Family. Like many others, you all are the first ones I thought of when I heard about the disaster. Keep up the good work and be safe.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many victims and survivors of the recent tragedy. Maybe knowing about our heartfelt feelings of sadness will help you and yours through the grieving process. Hooray for all the brave heroes of the moment, and hooray all PHC performers are safe. You are like family to fans, and we breathe a sigh of relief!

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved with this tragedy.
Michele wrote on 8/3. (People keep mentioning how old the highways are) We must continue to invest in our infrastructure, not only roads but also Bridges, hazardous Pipelines that are wearing thin under our neighborhoods and sewer and water lines that protect our families from fire and more.
Please hold all your elected officials accountable for providing funding not only for any current war we are involved in. But also the safety of our families.

Apparently, unlike the majority of Minnesota's bridges, the I-35W was not above average.

Hats off to Congressman Oberstar for suggesting a 5 cent Federal gas tax increase to get started on the job of repairing our aging bridges and infrastructure. If ever there was a time to rally round a cause, this is it. That's why I was shocked to hear Pres. Bush hesitate on any "tax increase" and question how Congress spends their money. Mr. President, it's OUR money they're spending and we want to know our bridges and roads are safe!

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