As I was riding the elevator up to my favorite Sri Lankan restaurant I couldn't help but notice a poster that had been taped to the wall. It showed two young men, dressed in work clothes and standing on a muddy road with piles of debris stretching as far as the eye could see into the background. At the bottom of the poster was a resolute promise: mae-yori ii machi ni shiteyaru (We'll make this town even better than it was).
More than three months have passed since the Tôhoku earthquake and tsunami which claimed more than fifteen thousand lives and destroyed the homes and livelihoods of countless others. Nearly eight thousand people remain missing.
It's easy to turn the TV off, to close your eyes to the news, and lose yourself in quotidian struggles. But while we grapple with mundanity, there are people who are facing once-in-a-century challenges with admirable courage. We should never allow ourselves to put them out of our mind. And, as the posters say, we shouldn't feel sorry for the people affected by the natural disaster, we should do everything in our ability to help them move forward.
For more information on the Beacon of Rebirth Poster Project, please visit their homepage.