- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

The following are excerpts from President Bush’s remarks yesterday at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance Service for Hurricane Katrina victims:

On this day of prayer and remembrance, our nation remains in the shadow of a storm that departed two weeks ago. We’re humbled by the vast and indifferent might of nature, and feel small beside its power.

We commend the departed to God. We mourn with those who mourn. And we ask for strength in the work ahead.

The destruction is immense, covering a city, a coastline, a region. Yet the hurt always comes down to one life, one family.

We’ve seen the panic of loved ones separated from each other, the lonely pain of people whose earthly possessions were swept away, and the uncertainty of men and women and children driven away from the lives they knew. …

In this hour of suffering, we are prayerful. In the wounded region, so many place their faith in a God who hears and helps, and so many are bringing their grief to a Savior acquainted with grief. …

Through prayer we look for ways to understand the arbitrary harm left by this storm and the mystery of undeserved suffering. And in our search we are reminded that God’s purposes are sometimes impossible to know here on Earth. …

In this hour of suffering, our nation is thankful. We have been inspired by acts of courage and goodness: Coast Guardsmen and military personnel reaching out of helicopters and lifting victims from rooftops, firefighters wading through mud and debris to search for victims and survivors, doctors and nurses defying danger so their patients might live. …

We are thankful for a spirit seen across the Gulf Coast that faces the worst and chooses to hope. We’re thankful as well for the many ordinary citizens who heard the cries of neighbors and answered them. …

In this hour of suffering, our nation is also mindful of the work ahead. …

The destruction of this hurricane was beyond any human power to control, but the restoration of broken communities and disrupted lives now rests in our hands. …

Americans of every race and religion were touched by this storm, yet some of the greatest hardship fell upon citizens already facing lives of struggle — the elderly, the vulnerable and the poor. And this poverty has roots in generations of segregation and discrimination that closed many doors of opportunity. As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality. …

So now we go forward, confident in the good heart of America and trusting that even among the ruins, the love of God remains at work.

May God bless and keep the souls of the lost. May His love touch all those in need. And may He always watch over the United States of America. God bless.


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