Monday, September 05, 2005

Why I Love This Country

I would like to do a brilliant, insightful post about Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath, what should have been done, what shouldn't have been done, and maybe even who is at fault. I would like to, but there are so many who are so much smarter, well spoken, and more credible that I could ever hope to be. There is more than enough blame to go around. Hindsight is 20/20. What matters now is helping these people left destitute by this storm. And that is the point of my post.

The thing that I love about this country is that after we have gotten over the shock and disbelief following a major tragedy here, we stand up dust off our hands and say, "Now, what can I do?" I love hearing the stories of people across this beautiful country of ours offering their homes, their money, their time, whatever they have to help Katrina's victims. People stand by, all over the country, waiting approval to enter the disaster zones in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama so that they can bring aid and comfort and safety to the area. Small children going through their toyboxes and raiding their penny banks so that children who have lost everything can have something to call their own. There are waiting lists at the Red Cross training facilities for classes on providing aid in a disaster. The students on their break here (where my husband is going to school) are giving up their vacations to help out however they can. Folks all over are giving up vacation to go help.

We pull together. Most of us put aside party and ideology to get to the important work of helping our fellow man. No color, no religion, no ethnicity, no class, no rich, poor, red, blue, dove, hawk, just human beings (and puppy dogs, Marti!) who need our help. Because it doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with how they voted. You love them because they are you. I know that it could have just as easily have been me and my family who lost everything. In fact, our landlord and his family are stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS. This time last year, those people lived in this house. Their children played in this backyard. Slept in these bedrooms. Now those kids have nothing left. Their house is gone and all of their clothes, toys, sippy cups, and Tonka trucks. Everything that was their world. That reality is almost more than I can bear.

My daughter spent hours this evening putting together "activity packs" with coloring books, crayons, pencils, toys, and lollipops for our church to deliver down south. We shopped for the items together with her little brothers this afternoon. She was so pleased to be able to do something to help. We are all so very, very grateful that our family was okay. As a result we feel an even greater responsibility to do something for the others who were not so fortunate. We also bought diapers, wipes, and formula and will be heading to Sam's tomorrow to get more before our church group heads South. This is our opportunity to show our kids what it really means to be an American. To let them have the experience of doing something tangible for someone else.

So, thank you America. Thank you internet for showing what this country really is. The news may show the looters and the criminals preying on the victims. But, call me Pollyanna, I choose to believe that there are more people - exponentially more - who are looking for a way to help. Who are going out of their way to bring comfort. My faith in God is always rewarded by Him showing me the how the good in people will outshine the bad. I am so proud to be an American.

For a comprehensive list of reputable charities offering aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, look here. Thanks to Busy Mom.

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