Thursday, January 13, 2011

Haiti Remembers

A year after the massive earthquake that devastated parts of the Caribbean nation, Haiti remembers the lost and keeps struggling to recover.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — At 4:53 p.m., Haiti fell silent.

It was a rare quiet time — 35 seconds — for this boisterous city normally filled with the sounds of the almost one million people who live on the street.

Some marked this painful anniversary in bed, the hurt of memories of the 7.0 earthquake that killed so many a year ago too much to bear. Others visited cemeteries and mass graves where tiny wooden crosses mark the barren land where 200,000 of the estimated 300,000 people who died now lay.

From New York, Washington and Miami to Port-au-Prince, Haitians set Jan. 12 aside to grieve, to pray and celebrate life. But among the prayer vigils, memorials and beating of drums, Haitians also looked ahead, envisioning a future that includes more hospitals and schools, clean water and homes. Many mourners questioned why it was taking so long for Haiti to rise up from its ashes.

One of the casualties of the quake seems to be our collective short-term memory loss.