I've spent the past hour watching an in-depth documentary on the History Channel about the Dust Bowl of the 30's. I knew it was bad, but... I had no idea. It was tragic and terrifying to a level of supernatural, Biblical proportions. I have actually almost cried several times this evening as I've tried to grasp the magnitude of the situation. It was mind-blowing. Drought, the relentless, hurricane-level storms, the plagues of rabbits, poisonous spiders and bugs, the blindness, the disease, the death.
At one point they discussed Dahart, Texas, home of this newspaper man who kept optimism alive (one of the few-- he formed a club called Last Man Standing to keep the plain state folks going) as well as quite a few other interesting players of importance in the "dirty thirties." They then featured a tiny clip of a bespectacled, balding and poorly dressed little farmer, squinting in the face of the blowing dust, saying "Times are tough, but we're American, and we shine through."
Probably the most beautiful thing I've heard in a long time.