When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s an expression often traced back to two men born in the same year, interestingly enough — Joseph P. Kennedy, JFK’s father, and Knute Rockne. Both entered the world in 1888.

Almost a century following the passing of Rockne, a legendary Notre Dame football coach, we are experiencing what could be called “winter storm of the century.” Even the entire state of Texas is getting slammed by the wintry mix of ice, sleet and snow.

No, it hasn’t been a blizzard. A foot of snow would have been better.

When ice accumulates into the half-inch-and-thicker range, that’s what has made these storms so dangerous. Road conditions have been treacherous and power outages have occurred throughout northeastern Kentucky and the surrounding areas.

But, as Joseph Kennedy and Knute Rockne famously said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

That’s precisely what has happened. Road crews, power workers, first responders and elected officials have been among the metaphorical caped crusaders amid The Big Freeze. Gas businesses have worked diligently to keep people warm and safe. Neighbors have lended helping hands — and comfortable homes with welcoming beds or couches. People have handed a worker a cup of hot coffee or a warm meal. 

It’s times like these where we see everyone’s true colors. Another old saying — “They’ll give you the shirt right off their backs” — applies to more people than we might even think. 

As dreadful and miserable as this winter weather has been, it’s served as a timely reminder that we can indeed set aside differences (political, especially) and be strong, helpful, thoughtful neighbors.

During the Ice Storm of 2021, the tough got going.

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