Disasters bring out the best in our country

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The worst of times can really bring out the best in people.

We’ve seen it time and time again throughout history. While it’s true across the world, Americans are especially giving and step up when needed. Barnwell Countians are no exception as we’ve seen you respond locally and abroad when people are in need.

As the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once put it: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” That’s a pretty good philosophy to live by.

Over the past couple of weeks, people across this country have had the chance to pay some of their “rent” after two hurricanes have ravaged different parts of our country. First, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and surrounding areas in Texas. Just a week later, Hurricane Irma hit the Florida coast but also impacted coastal communities in the Caribbean as well as Georgia and South Carolina.

People have stepped up to send supplies to those in need, including many businesses and families here in Barnwell County who sent truckloads of items to Texas after Harvey. Countless monetary donations have been made to help victims as well.

We expect to see more humanitarian efforts as Floridians begin their recovery.

It was powerful to watch the Hand In Hand televised benefit for hurricane relief where $44 million was raised for victims. Celebrities united to field phone calls and be a voice for the victims. The money from the benefit will go directly to several charities working to help hurricane victims such as Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Feeding Florida and Feeding Texas.

While the hurricanes have received a lot of media attention lately, this week also marked the anniversary of another event that united America. Monday, Sept. 11 was the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a day that sent shock throughout our country. We were crippled, but not defeated as the terrorists had intended. Instead, Americans united and prayed.

The solidarity seems to fade sometimes if you watch the news. Hatred and division seems to be rampant in our world, country and county, but we know that there is more good than bad in this world. Just look back at the examples we’ve mentioned as well as the acts of kindness that often go unnoticed by most in communities across this country.

Helping our fellow man is at the core of who we are as humans.

Racial, religious and social differences just don’t matter during times of need when everyone is facing heartache and hardship. There are no strangers in the aftermath of a storm or other disaster.

If you have a complaint, volunteer and be a part of the answer.

Before Hurricane Irma made landfall, we asked our Facebook friends to share stories of good things they witnessed. Read the responses in the other article on this page.

Let’s look for the good things that occur each day, no matter how small. If you’re having a hard time finding one, maybe it is time for you to act and “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” as the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said.

True healing is in helping.