Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Japan struggles on. Here is today’s letter.
Dear Mr. President,
Following the stories from Japan I am struck by the tremendous composure of so many of the people there in the midst of this tragedy. I watched a good bit of NHK’s coverage with English translation last night, and time after time I saw people facing the most horrendous circumstances speaking with in admirably measured tones and with an apparent sense of calm.
I saw one man whose children survived, but whose wife is missing. The camera crew followed him as he went from place to place, asking if anyone had any information. At one hospital, a woman talked with him for a while. She said she had been in the area near his home searching for survivors, but no, she had not found his wife. She apologized as if it were a personal failing on her part, which it decidedly was not. And he responded by thanking her for her time and effort. They bowed to each other, and his search went on.
There can be no doubt that Japanese families and their many friends, far and near, are suffering tremendously. I can hardly imagine their grief. Their sense of loss and displacement must be overwhelming. I suspect, in private, many more are breaking down in despair than those I have seen doing so in front of the cameras.
I don’t know much about Japanese culture; or rather, I should say, I know enough about it to know that I don’t understand it well. But I feel as if I know strong people when I see them, and the people of Japan seem to be showing an enormous amount of strength and resilience. I feel as if what I am seeing is the respect of individuals for the greater community. It seems in so many cases as if people are being strong because they know that everyone else is suffering too, and they must be brave together.
Maybe I have it all wrong. But I admire it. And it makes me believe, whatever calamities are yet to come their way, the people of Japan will stand together and rise triumphant.
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