On the subject of response, we are very proud of our community.
Whether it be people meeting yesterday at the chamber of commerce to brainstorm ideas to raise money to help the survivors, to a radio DJ sitting on a 25-foot platform to raise cash for the Red Cross efforts, to hundreds taking part in a number of local prayer vigils, to all of the people inquiring about how to donate blood, hearts have opened in the heartland.
Fortunately, several Storm Lake area people seem to have escaped harm's way in New York and Washington. That doesn't make it easier to see the suffering of so many families who were not so fortunate.
For many years, New Yorkers have had a reputation as rude, self-centered or even dangerous. The way this city and its people have responded to the tragedy erases that misconception forever. It's more than a slogan with a heart symbol now - we all "love New York."
The times will be trying. The need for blood and money will go on for months. As more names are released, more ties to the sadness will emerge for communities everywhere. It may be months before reeling airlines and financial markets completely recover, and we will all feel the effects.
If every small city in the country shares as much in prayers, compassion, donations, organization and blood as Storm Lake is gearing up to do, America will be okay.
In a real way, we are suddenly not Iowans or New Yorkers any more, not midwesterners or easterners. We are Americans; we are all family.
Our thanks to all those helping out at this little end of the tiny twig attached to the branch, attached to the limb, attached to the trunk, attached to the roots of this family tree - still standing strong.