March 12th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #782 'As Japan digs out'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Japan has been hit by a massive earthquake, and the White House is responding.

Dear Mr. President,

The news from Japan is terrible. Earthquakes are fearsome things even in their milder forms, and a monster such as this one is truly awe-inspiring and awful. I was watching one particular bit of video as a wave of debris swept through a neighborhood and I could clearly see how nice and tidy everything was one second, and how utterly devastated the next.

When I have visited huge natural disasters over the years, I have often wondered how people make it through. You can send all the blankets, water, food and medical supplies you want (and of course, all of that is good) but only time and many years of rebuilding will replace the lost sense of security.

I often think, aside from the lives, that is the biggest casualty in such moments. As painful and difficult as it is, homes can be rebuilt, possessions replaced, roads repaved, businesses reopened. But that basic sense of feeling safe in your own town, on your own street, in your own house, is a difficult sensation to recover.

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