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Reaching out to our family

Observer Editorial | Friday, September 2, 2005

As images of death, anarchy and despair from one of the biggest natural disasters in American history splash across newspaper pages and television screens, even the so-called Notre Dame bubble is not immune from Hurricane Katrina’s damage.

These horrific images exceed our realm of understanding. But the words of two Saint Mary’s professors trapped in a New Orleans hotel – and the worries of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students from affected areas – are accessibly, painfully concrete.

At a University with national roots, any national tragedy is bound to have spokes that strike close to home. The Notre Dame roots stretch to the flooding in Gulf Port, Miss. and the looting in New Orleans.

We couldn’t keep this tragedy outside the Notre Dame bubble if we tried.

In times of need, we depend on our family and close friends to support us. At this moment, members of our Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s families need our assistance.

We have classmates who need us to take care of them and comfort them. We must give them understanding and be there for them when they need a shoulder to cry on. This is a pivotal time in their lives – a time they, and we, will never forget.

When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia last winter, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students and faculty members rallied together to raise thousands of dollars. But with a natural disaster hitting closer to home, we must come together once again to raise money and donate items to benefit those who need our help.

Give anything you can. Donate any clothes you can spare. Pledge money to the Red Cross or Catholic Charities. The American Red Cross estimates it will need almost $130 million in relief aid if it hopes to stave off starvation and disease – a figure equal to the total amount spent on all four of last year’s destructive hurricanes that hit the United States.

And with the threats of an oil crisis sweeping the country, we must also each consider our gasoline consumption. We must realize that production facilities have been greatly crippled by the storm.

So carpool to class or to the Pitt game. Leave the gas for those who need it most – the people who are helping with the rescue and cleanup efforts.

But most of all, pray. Pray for our fellow Americans who survived and those who mourn the loss of their homes, possessions, friends and family to this storm. The other side of the bubble needs its family now more than ever.