Tsunami nature's way of strengthening bonds
Every day, the death toll from the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia climbs. Each day, nations increase the aid pledged to help the victims.
And each day, survivors tell of their experiences that give insight into the will to survive that helped them overcome the great wall of water.
Thus far, Japan leads in pledging help, offering about one-fourth of the $2 billion relief effort.
The Japanese are the people most able financially in the Far East to help, but their reasons for being quick to be generous may lie in their history. The scenes where the tsunami went ashore look like the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after U.S. forces dropped atom bombs to end World War II.
The Japanese know the suffering of widespread destruction. They know what it takes to recover and that many more of their people would have died without massive aid after the surrender.
The tsunami death toll is near 150,000 but the human misery is far more staggering as nearly 2 million people need help, some simply to keep from starving.
The United States under reacted to the tragedy initially, pledging $35 million in aid. That figure is now at $350 million, with the U.S. military taking on some of role of reaching isolated places.
The American contribution will grow, not because of the criticism of our initial effort but because of our generosity.
Times like this should bring the nations of the world closer as each of us wrestles with the sobering realization that life is a fragile gift that must be nurtured if it is to flourish.