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Op-Ed: Thank You America


WASHINGTON, Wednesday, November 23, 2005 — If there was such a thing as a “Disaster Dictionary,” under the word “unprecedented” the definition would simply say “See Year 2005.” On the very next line, I am sure it would say “See also ‘Generosity of the American People.’”

In the last twelve months—with the Asian tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma—we have endured the deadliest international disaster and the most destructive U.S. disasters in a century. And yet, in the wake of this unprecedented despair and devastation, we have seen the generosity of the American people soar to uncharted heights and the compassion of the American heart shine more brightly than ever before.

This holiday season, the American Red Cross extends profound gratitude for the incredible support of the greatest force for compassionate action on earth—the American people. Because of your generosity the Red Cross has been able to give critical support to those affected by the hurricanes, while still providing help and hope to your neighbors in need.

As Chairman of the American Red Cross, I’m extraordinarily grateful to be associated with an organization that gives us all dignity of purpose, and most importantly, friends for life. Every American who supports the Red Cross through volunteer time, money or blood, shares in that special kinship of neighbors helping neighbors, whether they are around the block or across the globe. Thank you, America! Your compassion and volunteerism inspire us all. It is only through your incredible generosity of spirit that the Red Cross stands ready, twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Hurricanes are just part of the story. Your local Red Cross is the heart and soul of our organization. They are your friends and neighbors, responding to thousands of community disasters such as house and apartment fires, teaching first aid and CPR classes, collecting lifesaving blood, or helping other communities near or far during times of crisis. They help military families stay connected during difficult times of separation and deployment and help reconnect families separated by crisis and conflict around the world.

The Red Cross offers all of these services free of charge—but only thanks to the generous support of people like you. While hurricanes capture the headlines, it is more important than ever before to support your local Red Cross, so that no one in American must ever face a disaster alone.

Alex De Tocqueville, a historian who studied America, said, “America is great because America is good. When America ceases being good, America will cease being great.” This past year has proven that America is indeed great, and stands tall because of the goodness, compassion and unprecedented generosity of its people. Your Red Cross thanks you for helping us help America.

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter
Chairman, American Red Cross


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