Brothers and sisters:
As I write this article, the images of the complete and total devastation of the Texas Gulf coast and the ramifications thereof are only beginning to come to light. According to press reports 33 people are confirmed dead, 311,000 are signed up for relief and the President is pledging $5.9 billion to the inundated region.
As elevator constructors the best at this writing we can do is keep our brothers and sisters and their families in the affected areas in our prayers and be prepared to supply the aid and relief they will so desperately require. I know that Locals will donate money to relief causes and the most generous of us will open our own wallets to help those in need. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are great resources for those who want their monetary or physical donations to go to where they are promised.
As those who worked through the damage done by Katerina and Sandy will no doubt testify, there will be ample work for all the trades in the aftermath of this storm. I would encourage those who are able to travel to talk to your superintendent about offering your services to the affected area.
Time after time in the aftermath of tragedy, America has put aside its divisions and rallied to the aid of those who found themselves in harms way. Who doesn’t quote from Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural speech “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” What about “a date which will live in infamy?”
Standing on the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, Lincoln said in part “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here. …from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
After Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its final flight, who could forget Ronald Reagan speaking to assembled nation about those brave explorers losing their lives as they were reaching for the stars? What about President Bush on the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers addressing the crowd from a bullhorn pledging to bring those responsible to justice? What of President Obama at the end of his address at Mother Emmanuel to those mourning the senseless loss of their loved ones spontaneously breaking into a hymn of forgiveness?
These are touchstone moments that defined the character of The United States of America to the world as more than an assemblage of those of random heritage and dubious lineage. However you as an individual may feel about those men and their politics, there is no way you can question the depth of their commitment to the nation which elected them to serve as Commander-In-Chief and their most important role: Comforter-In-Chief.
They defined us as a nation of character, willing to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual.
They defined us a nation of resolve willing to sacrifice for those we do not know that which we hold most precious.
They defined us a nation of compassion willing to hold up those who feel they can no longer stand up on their own.
They defined us as a nation united in principle, purpose and calling.
They defined us as The United States of America.
Until next month…
Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.