It is sad to say, but in the last few years, we have had more than our share of opportunities to witness the devastation of tragedy, storms, and catastrophes that have come upon humanity. From 911 to Katrina to the Tsunami to dozens of other floods, famines, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, disasters of a phenomenal proportion have happened to people worldwide.
When disaster strikes, that often brings out the best in all of us. America is always at the forefront of leadership in bringing aid to the country’s afflicted areas and the world in such circumstances. People worldwide have become so accustomed to American charity when horrible things happen that they almost come to expect to wake up the next day to the sight of American aid coming over the horizon the day after the catastrophe. It seems as normal and expected as the dawn of the new day.
And when you think about watching scenes from natural disaster sites, what is the one thing that you always see in the background whenever one of our news services are on the scene just after a disaster falls a people? It is the very familiar symbol of the simple Red Cross that is there to aid the suffering and help in every way possible. The American Red Cross is one of those institutions that we always expect to be there to help where they can and bring much-needed food, medicine, and other supplies long before other relief efforts have even begun to respond.
That simple red cross on the side of one of their trucks or stamped on a bag of food means relief to the suffering millions of the world when disasters that might otherwise mean widespread death to a people. It is the Red Cross who stands in the gap to say, “No, this disaster may mean terrible destruction, but we are here to say, all will not be lost.” And, God forbid, if you or I were ever in a terrible natural catastrophe when we stumble out of the rubble, we would look up and see that familiar sign of charity and help, and we would know that somebody cares and that all is not lost.
The Red Cross is just one of the hundreds of charitable organizations in place across America to always stay ready to go to the trouble when it occurs and bring immediate relief. The American charity infrastructure is one of the most sophisticated organizations for the relief of human suffering in humanity’s history. It’s the ability to always stay ready, coordinate between organizations, and mobilize on a moment’s notice on a par with the American military for efficiency and effectiveness under the worst possible circumstances.
The unrelenting dedication to helping the helpless, the nonpartisan commitment to their calling, and their incredible skills all are emblems of the American spirit in every possible way. There is a simple beauty to how Americans are willing to step in and help people without regard for race, national origin, or government’s political relations. No matter who it is, if disaster strikes, Americans are there through the Red Cross.
We can take pride in this part of our society that is so often taken for granted. The Red Cross and other American charities rarely look for praise or thanks. Their mission is to serve, and if they seek attention, it is only to gather more materials for that mission. That selflessness, dedication to others, and thankless charity is just another example of the great American spirit that has made us the shining example to the world of how humanity takes care of each other when the chips are down. And that is what makes America great.