It takes time to heal a wound or to heal a heart. But to heal a nation it takes the joining of all hands in unity.
Four years ago today one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history struck the nation of Haiti. The earthquake of January 12, 2010 will never be forgotten.
On that fateful day, we experienced a national trauma. Hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed; almost two million people were displaced. More than 200,000 people perished in that quake, their voices forever silenced, and their dreams ended. Parents lost sons and daughters. Husbands and wives were widowed. Children became orphans.
We owe something to the dead: we must remember their lives, honor their memories, and live richly in service of others so we can continue to heal as a nation. We owe something to the survivors: the promise to rise from rubble, to continue to build, and to make sure every Haitian has a home.
On that fateful day, we saw the courage of our citizens come to life, as millions of Haitians selflessly helped others – digging through rubble, working through the night, risking their own lives to save neighbors, friends and strangers. We owe something to these heroes: we must stay strong and continue our tireless efforts to build a greater Haiti. The Haiti that was exemplified by those brave souls’ deeds that day.
On that fateful day, we saw an outpouring of support from the international community. They rose up to help us in our most desperate time of need, and in the aftermath of the earthquake. Their efforts remain appreciated, and we are thankful to know so many others around the world cared about our nation and its people.
This tragedy has not stopped the spirit of Haiti. It is the same spirit that is heard in our music, the spirit seen in the vivid colors of our art, and the spirit felt in the rhythms of our Creole language. Our spirit remains unbroken. The healing of our hearts and our land continues.
Hippocrates wrote, “healing is a matter of time, but it is also sometimes a matter of opportunity”. Let us continue to seize this opportunity and heal our nation together. Let us rise together, to create a better, stronger nation. Let us never forget the thousands of lives lost, the millions who were displaced.
We are a land of high mountains. We are a home to free men and women. We are a people whose greatest days lie ahead of us. L’union fait la force. Union creates strength.