I was sitting in a wooden box-like cubicle, pretending to study, at what is now known as International Cooperative School in Paramaribo, Suriname. The high school supervisor made the announcement.
And the whole world stopped.
Actually it did not stop, but it felt like it did for a second.
Disbelief. Horror. Plain old sadness.
As Mrs. Park made the announcement one of the embassy kids started laughing.
Mrs. Park had studied English, and had a certain way with words. That day she used the gift God had given her of lecturing.
His laughing stopped.
The American students were unusually quiet that day.
The international students seemed unusually loud.
Towards the end of the day, a good friend of mine, came and sat talking to me and the other senior girl, an American too. The conversation was for the lack of a better word formal. I do not remember what finally caused her to say it but she said something I will never forget, "I know what what happened today was sad, but it is not like it happened to my country."
My mouth dropped open. The American next to me shifted uncomfortably.
I do not remember how the conversation ended, but I know this. I learned an important lesson that day.
What makes America different is that we do care. A tsunami hits. Our hearts break. An earthquake strikes. We dig deep into our pockets. We send aid. We go. We try to help...because even though it is not our land, and even though it is not our people, we care.
I am proud to be an American. I am proud to cry along with the hurting world.
God has let us be a blessing to the world.
Physically and spiritually.
May we continue to be just that...
But, back to my first question: 'Where were you?'