Message from Liz . . .
We are a less than a week away from the 10 year anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and just over a week past Hurricane Irene. Each had a very different and complex cause; both left us with the immediate need to rebuild our communities. Both also highlight the importance of interdependence as a fundamental strength of our democratic society. In other words, none of us “do it all by ourselves;” we survive through our inter-relationships and our dependence on institutions. When the basic safety and infrastructure of local communities is damaged, we must rely on others to help us rebuild. It really does “take a village.”
It is during these times that we, as a society, are tested. The attack on 9/11 took thousands of lives and its impact was felt throughout the world. Here in NYC our fortitude, our ability to overcome fear and our challenge to work together to rebuild our City were tested. Hurricane Irene caused enormous destruction to communities up and down the East Coast, fortunately with minimal loss of life, and it tested our societal ability — government and private citizens alike — to plan for and respond to emergencies. In each case we passed these tests with flying colors.
Out of these tragedies we have seen something amazing: people – as professionals, as volunteers and as neighbors – rushing to help each other. But without the organization and direction of government and nonprofit institutions, this response would have been haphazard and wasteful. Imagine the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero without the FDNY, the NYPD and EMS. Absent prior planning, clear command and control, appropriate use of trained experts, monetary resources directed properly and coordination of effort, disaster response does not work. Neighbors helping neighbors is a wonderful thing, but it is only governmental entities that can ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness at such a large scale. (Speaking of helping out — due to the disruptions caused by Irene, all our blood banks could really use donors right now. More info is below)….