Empire editorials: Keep tsunami victims in mind

Posted: Sunday, January 09, 2005

Juneau's official day of remembrance for tsunami victims has come and gone, but the righteousness of putting Alaskans' money where their hearts are must go on.

Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho shared the city's - and the world's - sentiments by proclaiming Saturday the city's day of remembrance for the tens and hundreds of thousands of dead and the countless more displaced and tormented by one of history's worst disasters. He's precisely right to point out that Alaskans share a kinship with anyone affected by natural disasters, as well as a recognition that our state may be on the receiving end again one day.

"We, as a state, have faced our natural disasters and been beneficiaries of other people's kindness," Botelho said in proclaiming the day of remembrance. "When we see people suffering, there is a wonderful natural capacity for compassion."

Last week this newspaper reminded Juneau residents of their precarious relationship with the snow above, and its tendency to crash down Mount Juneau unexpectedly. It's no Asian tsunami, but the threat requires both preventive measures and preparations for the worst - preparations that require outside assistance. And parts of Southeast Alaska, through modern and geologic times, have weathered tidal waves of a size to defy the imagination. Other parts of Alaska have withstood infamous earthquakes. If selflessness weren't enough motivation for generosity, banking a little karma should suffice.

Many thanks to Wells Fargo, Rainbow Foods and Juneau People for Peace and Justice for helping the American Red Cross collect tsunami-relief funds in Juneau. Thanks also to the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, which reports that its "Elvis's Birthday Bash" on Friday raised $4,500 for the cause. Those moved to keep giving are encouraged to contact the Red Cross's Southeast Alaska office and give to its fund at 3200 Hospital Drive, Suite 203, Juneau AK 99801.

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