Katrina victims need help from each of us

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hurricane Katrina ripped a path of destruction through the Gulf Coast, causing destruction the likes of which our nation has never seen.

Hundreds of thousands of hard-working, law abiding American citizens had their lives ripped and smashed into tiny pieces that will take years to put back together. These were white people, black people, rich people, poor people but first and foremost they were just people.

Now approximately 50 evacuees from the New Orleans area have arrived in Lawrence County seeking shelter and a place to call home - at least just for a little while.

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Much community support and generosity has already helped get these families here and provide aid to others still in shelters across the south. Still, each of us can do more and the rebuilding - the healing - has only just begun.

Some cynics among us moan that we can't take care of our own people and question why we should extend a hand to anyone else.

The answer, simply, is how could we not and still sleep at night. All those hurt by the hurricane's wrath are human beings who deserve compassion and help. These people did not "bring this on themselves" as some would say.

They were simply guilty of trying to live their lives the best they know how, much like each of us. Most of the families coming here are not looking for handouts or charity, in fact the pain shows in their faces as they accept help.

It is clear that for most, their pride has been wounded as much as their hearts. But those same faces also reflect a gritty determination, a drive to overcome the challenges that have been placed before them.

One of the displaced women said simply, "God has a plan for us. We will survive and New Orleans will rise again."

We know that she is right, but that will only be possible with help and support of the entire nation and world. For now though, they plan to take life day by day and move forward.

Much like the New Orleans Saints NFL football team that shocked the nation Sunday by winning despite not having a home, the entire community must work as a team in life - something that is far more important than a game.