11.March.2011. Not a date that stands out in most Americans minds. Nothing all the memorable happened… at least not where the US is concerned. But, for a portion of the world, it changed everything.

On that date a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan. It created a catastrophic tsunami that could have never been planned for. As I watched the news unfold in Japan I could do nothing. I felt my heart break as people were starting to face the gravity of what had just happened. I stayed riveted to the news day after day as the death toll rose as did the number of missing people.

Here we are 3 months and 2 days later (in Japan). Even still hearing the stories of those who lived in the coastal areas, those who were worse hit… it’s still heart wrenching. Children who lost their entire family, family members who were washed out to sea in the tsunami… I can’t even imagine the emotional devastation of the people of Miyagi prefecture.

And then there’s the rebuilding. It’s going slow at best. In Kesennuma there are piles of debris that still need to be gone through. It’s gotten to the point where cases of pneumonia have risen because of bacteria that’s found in the debris. They lack the manpower to do what’s necessary to speed the reconstruction along.

Yet, the people who are left to pick up and carry on… the personal strength each one of them has. It’s inspiring. These people have just endured the worst and they are still carrying on. They could let the weight of the situation weigh them down, but instead they trudge forward. Even if it’s slowly, they still move forward step by step. It gives you a strong sense of the strength of their spirit.

If they (and others in similar situations) can pull through this catastrophe, then anyone can have the strength to move forward.