Editorial: Hood River supports Japan

March 19, 2011

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

That Japanese proverb, featured in a cartoon in the March 16 edition, says much about the resilience of the Japanese people

The earthquake and tsunami, rising concern over nuclear disaster and harsh winter conditions combine for the worst crisis facing the Japanese people since World War II.

The tsunami spawned by the strongest earthquake to ever strike Japan has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. Thousands more are missing.

Here in Hood River, we feel a strong bond with Tsuruta, Japan, making the devastation on the northeast coast of Honshu island feel somehow closer. Our hearts are with our neighbors across the Pacific.

For the past week, our community was blessed with the presence of youth and adults from Tsuruta, who flew to the U.S. on the day of the earthquake and have been here enjoying the sights and events in the Gorge while anxiously conscious of the plight of their countrymen.

And the people of Hood River County are stepping up to help out. These are some of the ways this is happening:

• Taste of Tsuruta. This annual Sister City event, always a delicious success, takes on new meaning April 2; all proceeds will be sent to the Tsuruta Sister City program for that community to determine how the funds can best be of service. (Details on page A1.)

• Prayer vigil on Friday. A collection was raised at a March 18 prayer vigil at Riverside Community Church, organized by Gorge Ecumenical Ministries.

• Mt. Hood Meadows ski nights for Mercy Corps, March 23-24 (see 3 to Go, on page A1, for details).

Mercy Corps is working to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami with its longstanding partner, Peace Winds. Donations will be used to meet immediate and longer-term needs of earthquake survivors.

Certainly it will take much to help the hundreds of thousands of displaced people stand up again after the quake-and-tsunami caused them to fall down. The work will take years, but we hope that the people of Tsuruta know that we stand with them.

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