I am putting up this post from Sydney, Australia, where it is approaching 6 pm on September 1. I'm here attending and speaking at a conference, yet all of the talk is about the tragedy of Katrina. Everyone asks me about it, some have asked if I have family in the area (I do not), and the universal reaction to the ensuing conversation is the long face and sad head shake accompanying the abiding sense of incredulity we all feel over what has happened.
There are simply no words available to adequately express our pain. How is it possible that such a cruel fate could befall innocent people? My heart is aching as I watch wall-to-wall coverage on CNN International, as well as foreign media outlets. It is especially difficult to watch interviews with hurricane victims who are utterly disconsolate over missing loved ones. As despair overwhelms them, they openly sob, as do the reporters interviewing them. Each of us in our own way is weeping over the random and desperately senseless destruction that Mother Nature has unleashed upon us.
Even as the people of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast begin the long and arduous process of rebuilding their shattered lives, we know that, in the end, they will prevail over this tragedy. It is simply not in the American experience to do otherwise and we will pull together as a nation and as a people to ensure their ultimate success and renaissance. In the meantime, we share with them our love and our strength as they work hard to make it through the difficult days ahead.