The Taking of the Hatteras Light

Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 2001

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The Taking of the Hatteras Light

by Michael Halminski, JanDeBlieu
Southern Cultures, Vol. 7, No.3: Fall 2001

"The taking of the Hatteras Light is a powerful statement about our society's reluctance to accept change and loss, and our refusal to embrace the consequences of living in a world shaped by natural forces."

One mild Saturday morning in November 1998, my six-year-old son and I went to a party at the famous, black-and-white spiraled Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the North Carolina Outer Banks. It wasn’t really a party; at least it wasn’t being billed as one by the National Park Service, the guardian of the Hatteras Light. Still,┬áthe occasion seemed a little festive. For once, residents of the Outer Banks would have a chance to visit the lighthouse during the slow season, when we wouldn’t have to climb it in lockstep with dozens of tourists. We drove south across Oregon Inlet, known among fishermen for its treacherous, changing channel, and down the length of Hatteras Island. All the way there, we followed a two-lane highway that is routinely threatened by blowing sand and flooding from ocean storms.