American TV is showing us pictures of Japan last year and this year. Is it even possible for us here to conceive of what remains to be done? Mountains exist – made of what were people’s homes and workplaces. Empty frames stand like skeletons – the remains of what were children’s schools.The size of the Japanese islands it only 21,607 square miles smaller than California. I’m imaging Los Angeles County turning to rubble and wondering where in the state would we put all that cannot be reused. How do you recycle such devastation? In Long Beach where I live we annually collected trash – not by choice, but because the cities up stream of the San Gabriel River allowed street debris to wash into the sewer system. The amounts piled up each year where the river meets the sea resulted in a major clean-up, a tremendous expense and harm to wildlife. If that boggled my mind, dealing with the resultant waste piles in Japan is like contemplating space – no end in sight.
Everyday concerns are now focused on what’s safe to eat. One report I read detailed the everyday search for food products not coming from an area that had nuclear contamination. We wonder if the field workers washed their hands thoroughly before picking our broccoli.Last year the Los Angeles Turners were able to activate the German-American community. The amount of money sent, insignificant compared to the continually mounting costs, did express our feelings and concerns for the Japanese people. Today, the best we can do is to remember. So, to two special people in Japan, Riki and Yuki, I send love, strength and much hope. To those of us here, take a moment today, please do remember.