Today is Labor Day. Like most holidays, the way Labor Day is celebrated, has often missed the reason for the holiday. I would humbly submit that for 2005, it would be only fitting to take a moment to say thanks for the hard work of the following groups, without whose superlative efforts and dedication far more people would be far worse off, or simply dead:
The United States Coast Guard - Right about now, the Coasties deserve at least as much praise and respect as anyone else in the uniform of the United States. Thousands of people quite literally would be dead right now, except that the Coast Guard came for them.
The Doctors, Nurses, and Paramedics who stayed behind to help - Roughly 60 doctors, nurses, and paramedics from New Orleans area hospitals lost everything they had, just like everyone else, and they too want to know where their family is, but chose to stay behind to help the patients who arrived after others were evacuated. For six days now, these people have worked with little rest or food, supplies almost exhausted, for no pay beyond the knowledge that they were the difference between life and death for countless people.
The National Guard - The most food, the most road clearing, and the only way to restore order. If not for these men, the gangs would still be running New Orleans.
The Salvation Army - First on the scene, as always. Not a word of self-praise from them, as always. Well worth your donation, as always.
Hilton's Furniture and Gallery Furniture - now that clothing and food needs are being met, these guys have provided hundreds of real beds for victims to sleep in, and are collecting supplies for longer-term needs in Houston.
Countless churches, as always, have been collecting supplies, taking in people who need a place to stay, and even making plans to help victims rebuild their lives.
And of course, the American Red Cross, who is coordinating most of the relief, and helping families find each other across the nation.
If you see a representative from any of these groups, please consider taking a moment to stop and tell them you appreciate all they’ve done. And if you see anyone from a television station, please feel free to remind them that pointing fingers and spurring on spite and hatred is the last thing the Gulf Coast needs right now.