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We must rise to challenge

For some people, Haiti may seem to be a million miles away and have nothing in common with the United States.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Men, women and children are suffering greatly after the island nation has been devastated by an earthquake that measured 7 on the Richter scale. The fact that much of the nation is impoverished to start with makes this horrible natural disaster nearly catastrophic.

Our country — and nearly each and every American — feels that we lead the world in humanity, fairness and opportunity.

Times like these are when we have to live up to those ideals.

Despite all the challenges facing the United States, we must look deep inside to find a way to lend a hand to our neighbors in this time of need.

This compassion and humanitarianism is what can set us apart from many other nations.

Yes, our economy is struggling and millions are out of work. Yes, we are engaged in two wars that continue to cost us dearly financially and physically. Yes, many of our leaders in Washington D.C. seem to have lost touch with America.

But we can never turn our backs on our fellow human beings simply because the timing is bad.

The people of Haiti are facing one of the most horrific natural disasters in decades. They have no recourse other than to ask for help.

More than 50,000 men, women and children are estimated to have died in this tragedy. Tens of thousands more will do so if they don’t receive needed aid.

The world is watching and the United States must show the character of which we all are so proud.