I was headed to an event in downtown Nashville on May 13th and did not even realize what was about to happen. I showed up at the event at One Fourteen which is a new venue The Wildhorse Saloon owns on Second Avenue. As I drove into the parking garage, the scene was still very sad even after 5 months. There were boards on all the shattered windows and fencing around the back half of Second Avenue.
This is a story that got lost in the pandemic. Nashville experienced a bombing on Christmas morning in 2020. Like the dumpster fire 2020 had turned into, this was just a slap on the face of Nashville, our Headquarters and my home for the last 18 years. The morning it all happened, I had woken up early to check if Santa got all the gifts under the tree for the kids and offered to take our new puppy out (my husband usually takes him in the morning). We walked outside and made it to a small patch of grass and BOOM! Instinctually the dog and I ran away from the boom. Our home is about 6 miles from the blast zone, but it felt like it was right next to us. I let the dog finish his business and went inside, checked social media and the news. All of Nashville was buzzing and trying to get info.
That day, along with our other disaster on March 3, 2020 have been lost in the pandemic. A large and long EF4 tornado ripped through Nashville around midnight waking us all up in a panic. The tornado struck one block from our home, the devastation can still be seen in the neighborhoods.
Nashville has seen devastation and over and over again and they always seem to rebound. Coming out of a pandemic will be no different. As I was walking the streets to my multiple stops this day, I noticed a resurgence of energy in the air, music was loud, streets were filled with people walking and rooftops were hoppin. What I didn't realize was right as I was doing a pop up site tour at the Moxy Downtown Nashville, that an announcement just took place. Nashville ws set to open up after midnight that night, but even more news was brewing. The CDC also just gave new findings that vaccinated people can ditch the mask outdoors and indoors. I was caught off guard a bit, but see that Nashville, in particular, was going to come back regardless of any rules. The weather was getting nicer, people were done with staying away from each other and businesses were ready to open. This news come with some challenges though.
Nashville is known for its live music scene and bachelorettes flock to Nashville in droves for their last "woo" before marriage. The woo girls were definitely in full effect that day. As we meander or rush into "normalcy" again, we must not forget the lessons we learned from a global pandemic and know that travel, meetings and events will come back. We need not to rush into it but take a step back and take stock all that we learned, noticed and may have figured out during this time. As a meeting planner, we saw our world evaporate, but this time has taught me a few things, we need to work smarter, not harder and that building relationships makes us stronger. With our headquarters in Nashville, we love our community and hope to grow with our partners as we navigate this new world with technology tools that make us stronger and better at our jobs as well as to understand that our jobs are not our life, but our life is what makes our jobs better.