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National Unity Should Not Just Occur After Tragedy

by Todd A. Smith

 

The Week That Was

            People often wonder why it takes a funeral to bring a family together.  When everyone is healthy and prosperous, families seem to stay divided on petty differences and misunderstandings.

            A family can sometimes be a microcosm for the entire country.  National unity seems to only exist after a tragedy occurs.  When things are going fairly well for the country, we seem to be even more divided by political, religious, gender and/or racial differences.

            This week’s tragedies reinforced the same national unity and pride we felt after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, but Americans need to realize that despite our superficial differences we are still an American family and that fact should result in national unity existing during the good times, not just the bad times.

            On Monday, three innocent spectators became a member of all our collective families after two brothers from southern Russia allegedly bombed the historic Boston Marathon. 

The precocious 8-year-old, Martin Richard, who was at the marathon with his family cheering on his father, became everyone’s "son" when we heard of his tragic murder.

Krystle Campbell, 29, who was there cheering on her friend’s boyfriend became every American’s "friend" when she lost her life to senseless terrorism.

And graduate school student Lu Lingzi, 23, of China represented for all of us a dream destroyed because two cowards killed her aspirations on that fateful day in Boston.

Furthermore, the fact that hundreds suffered life-altering injuries made many realize how blessed and fortunate we are to have the little things that we so often take for granted.

            It was beautiful to see the country rally behind the city of Boston and rally to save as many lives as possible.  Unimportant sports rivalries fell by the wayside, and for a brief moment in time, we were all Bostonians.  That type of national unity and togetherness should exist for all 52 weeks of the year, not just for one week.

            Unfortunately on Wednesday, the Southern region of our country was rocked with tragedy after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant devastated West, Texas.  Hundreds were injured, homes were destroyed and according to the Los Angeles Times, the mayor of the town near Waco, Texas believes between 35 to 40 people were killed.

            Immediately, celebrities that have probably never heard of the small Texas town like Arsenio Hall sent prayers up via Twitter to those affected by the devastating explosion.  After such a tragedy, people did not think of race, religion or political differences.  They only thought of people and for a brief moment in time we were all the same despite the superficial differences that divide us on a daily basis.

            In addition, the entire country was captivated by the murders of Kaufman County, Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife Cynthia, 65, on March 30.  The same community had previously dealt with the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, 57, on Jan. 31 outside of the county courthouse.

            The world prayed for the county and its officials until two suspects, Eric Williams and his wife Kim were arrested for the murders this week.  If communities can come together for tragedies, they can sure come together to move our communities closer together.

            Despite the national unity and heroism on display from unknown Americans, the week that brought us all together also made us realize that we have so far to go.

            The Senate rejected a bill that would have required background checks for most gun purchases.  Although statistics show that 90 percent of Americans are united behind the proposed gun legislation, Congress decided to ignore that unity and commence to divisive political posturing as usual.

            Regardless of the setback, Americans should take pride that national unity can exist, but

we have to make sure we do not wait until death comes knocking for us to come together as a

family.

This article was published on Friday 19 April, 2013.
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