Standing together

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2003

Tragedy tests us. When a tragic event occurs, study your neighbors and how they react, and you will see their truest essence emerge. Will they run into the burning building to save a child - or will they shatter a window and steal a television set?

Luckily for us, both in Covington County and in the United States, the majority of us fall into that former category. We had proof of this Thursday morning, when a terrible traffic accident took the life of a young mother near Covington Electric on Highway 84. Rather than sit back and murmur "Oh, how awful," employees of the electric utility, passersby and others stopped what they were doing immediately and ran to help. They could have simply called 9-1-1 and gone back to their desk, or rubbernecked out the window with that morbid fascination most of us deny having but can't resist. Instead, without thinking, without checking their schedule book or liability clauses, they ran to help.

A 15-year-old girl is home tonight, nine months after being abducted from her home in Salt Lake City. She was finally recovered when two citizens thought they recognized her alleged abductor from a newscast and called the police. They could have remained silent, afraid they were wrong and might look foolish. They could have shrugged and looked away. But they did not, and Elizabeth Smart is home.

These are the kind of people who built this country. These are the people who keep its values alive and growing, despite the ugliness and viciousness of those other kinds of people. Unfortunately, it is the looters, the grave robbers and the vandals who usually grab the headlines.

We face a grim future these days, between the economy and the world political situation.

Knowing that we can stand together, and stand up for each other, makes that future brighter and makes our country stronger.