Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

Good news provides relief from disaster

September 8, 2005

Once again, Mother Nature forces us back to reality as we witness how very frail we are in comparison to her fierce and devastating power as we gaze in horror at the destruction Hurricane Katrina wrought on a 90-mile strip of land bolstered with 130 to 145 mph winds. The city of New Orleans is flooded as deep as 20 feet, and the city of Biloxi, Miss., bone dry after a 25-foot wave of water swept into town taking most of the city with it and then receding as fast as it came. One reporter remarked that the scene looked like Hiroshima after the atom bomb was dropped.
And worst of all -- the loss of life that accompanies such a disaster as the ongoing reports from the scene grow worse each day, suggesting that Katrina may turn out to be the worst natural disaster in our country's history. Relief efforts are coming from every state and the Red Cross is taking monetary donations.
In Byrne's Pharmacy recently, we all agreed that Kansas is looking better by the minute.
With Katrina taking up most of the bad news space in newspapers, there was still room for more in the report of 840 Pilgrims in Iraq (mostly women and children) killed in a panic stampede during a religious pilgrimage when news of a suicide bomber was circulated.
There are those who predict we will all feel the aftermath of the hurricane in our economy and in rising gasoline prices, which climb higher each day now that the hurricane has swamped the refineries as well.
Oh, the misery of it...makes my head hurt.
Because everyone who owns a television set or reads a daily newspaper is familiar with most of this bad news, we might do well to search out some of the more positive items that have also been in the news.
Some have been obviously displayed on the front page, like the picture of Eudora's own Claggett twins, Melanie and Melissa, appearing on the front page of the Lawrence Journal-World's "B" section recently as they thanked residents of Pioneer Ridge for care packages sent to them while in Iraq. I am sure their experience will be one that is told and re-told in future generations in their family.
Some stories don't make the obvious headlines, like the one regarding a group of bi-partisan politicians who have banded together to form a group called "The Center Aisle Caucus," a newly formed group made up of 22 Democrats and 21 Republicans (which includes our own Rep. Dennis Moore) "intent on promoting respectful dialogue and meaningful debate."
They plan to focus on bills that affect ordinary citizens such as reducing the cost of prescription drugs for those on Medicare."
They also worked to see that bills were passed to increase "gratuity payments to families of soldiers killed in the line of duty since Sept 11, 2001, and to underwrite the travel costs of soldiers on leave from Iraq. Because it was the right thing to do."
And best of all an e-mail sent to me by a childhood friend with whom I regularly correspond, concerning "Camp Casey" that was created by Cindy Sheehan, the mother whose son was killed in Iraq and who has been camped close to President Bush's ranch in Texas hoping for a meeting with him.
The e-mail read:
"A beautiful moment just happened at Camp Casey. There was a candlelight vigil honoring troops who have died in Iraq. The counter-protesters, who have also set up camp nearby, came across the street and joined those keeping vigil at Camp Casey. They shared the flag and prayed together for the families on both sides who have lost loved ones in the war. They are now together singing and holding candles."
We are thankful for these hopeful stories in the midst of the tragic that did not make front-page headlines or TV news programs. Let's look for more of the same in the days to come.

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