Where are the heroes when the spotlight is gone?

Posted by: Kat Mabry


It’s likely that the majority of the student body spent their weekend with friends, talking about how their dates did or did not go, papers they were procrastinating on, professors they disliked or classes they dropped. Chances are pretty good that students did not give much thought to the one-year anniversary of what some are calling the worst natural-disaster to ever occur over a body of water, Japan’s tsunami and devastating earthquake that struck the northeastern coast on March 11, 2011.

The devastating event left more than 2,000, (some accounts say 3,000) people missing or dead. So is it all that surprising that one year later the images of destruction are still fresh in some minds? It seems too soon to say that a year has passed. Maybe the vivid images in photographs that the Los Angeles Times ran more than a week ago, paralleling the way things looked then and now, contribute to the memories of that day and make them seem closer than they are.

At the very least, those who otherwise would not have given the day a second thought were reminded, thanks to Sunday-night television taking time to air video and newscasts announcing the anniversary.  Not to mention all of the media outlets reminding readers and online viewers of what people went through and the healing they are still seeking.

In Japan, local newspapers like the Japan Times, regard the recovery from the tsunami, as frustrating, and specify that progress has only been made in “baby steps.” The online publication of the Japan Times displayed “#311 Memories,” a stream of tweets from the day that tell stories of where people were in 140-characters or less on their website. Even in those word-count restraints one can feel the impact and emotion.

The Huffington Post reported that while looking to rebuild, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reminded the Japanese people to look forward to what the future holds; that they [the people of Japan] have overcome worse in their time, and that their nation will be “reborn as an even better place.”

But shouldn’t we still be helping if we can? Families are still missing loved ones and many areas that were affected by the earthquake have still barely been altered and sit in ruble. Volunteers, relief and the most basic of human compassion seem to be most saturated upon the height of a disaster, like this one. It’s important to be reminded that one-year was not nearly long enough and that those involved in this tragedy still need help.


So do the research and donate your time or your pennies, if you can. You might be a hero in someone’s eyes.