Hang In There, New Orleans, Amerca’s On It

Even if the preznit fiddled, Americans didn’t.

The Red Cross said it had so far raised $21 million, a figure comparable to the response for tsunami victims following the devastation in Asia earlier this year. Nearly $15 million of that has come from individual donations through its Web site, with the rest representing corporate contributions.

“The outpouring of support has been amazing,” said Kara Bunte, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, which has set up hundreds of shelters for hurricane victims.

“People are now starting to see the images on TV and want to help,” she said.

Catholic Charities USA, based in Alexandria, Va., said it has received hundreds of calls in the last few days from volunteers asking how they can help. The group has raised $15,000 through its Web site, but will be stepping up collection efforts at churches in the coming days.

“The response is right up there with the calls we had after 9-11,” said spokeswoman Shelley Borysiewicz. “The American public is quite generous and they will rise to the occasion.”

You know, I try not to engage in the sort of cheap Hallmark Card pandering to patriotism over here that you often find on Freeper blogs and other places. I don’t slap a graphic with a little waving American flag or a little yellow ribbon on every single post. We don’t end every e-mail with God Bless The United States or I’m Proud To Be An American.

In the face of news like the above, I don’t need to. Because that is the story of the country of which I am a proud citizen. That is the Midnight Ride, that in the face of the worst, we do our best, and that is all that needs to be said about the true meaning of America.

Our kindness to one another is my national anthem.

Our generosity in the face of tragedy is my Stars and Stripes.

I spent part of this morning watching TV, watching boats trawling up and down the flooded streets of New Orleans, looking for survivors.

That is, in its demonstration of America’s power and might, my Fourth of July parade.

A.

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