By The TimesLedger
As the hard times linger, Americans are increasingly tempted to reconsider this nation’s generosity. Politicians and talk-show hosts standing under the “America First” banner question all types of foreign aid. They argue that the time has come to do less for others and more for America’s needy.
As unthinkable as it might have been a decade ago, last year Michael Savage, a nationally syndicated radio personality whose “Savage Nation” show is carried nightly on WABC, questioned the money spent to aid two Guatemalan girls who had been conjoined at the head since birth. Because of the surgery they received at the expense of the American people, these little girls have a chance at living a normal life. Savage argued that America can no longer afford to solve the problems of the world. And his loyal listeners cheered.
Fortunately, the Rotary International and the doctors and nurses at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park have not joined the “Savage Nation.” They still see the value of bringing the world’s greatest medical treatment to the children of the world’s poorest nations. Last week we reported the story of a 3-year-old Chinese orphan who received life-saving heart surgery at Schneider Children’s Hospital. The surgery was paid for by the Rotary International Gift of Life program.
The doctors said the little girl, who was found abandoned on a street when she was only 5 months old, “was quite blue when she first came to the U.S. Her blood flow was abnormal. If this had gone on, she could have had episodes of loss of consciousness, strokes or devastating neurologic injuries.”
Shaoke Xing was the 18th Chinese child brought to America for surgery since Rotary International began the Chinese Gift of Life program in June 2000. We salute the generous men and women of the Rotary for a compassion and humanity that endures despite the recession.
As we watch U.S. troops prepare for a possible war with Iraq, we are reminded that it is not America’s military strength or its economic power that makes America great in the eyes of the world. No, it is the undying generosity of the American people.
A TimesLedger reporter spoke to Shaoke’s guardian, who was a guest at the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital. “[Shaoke] was in a lot of pain. Now she’s very alert, very happy,” she said. “Americans are very, very warm. We are grateful for all the loving hearts who helped us.”
Editorial: The Blizzard of '03
Our hats are off to the Department of Sanitation, which did a tremendous job in digging the city out after last week’s blizzard. Anyone who was in New York for the Blizzard of ‘96 will certainly agree that the response this year was far better.
In 1996, three days after the storm buses still couldn’t get through many of the side streets in Queens. For nearly a week, the city was paralyzed. But not this time. The snow started falling on Sunday afternoon and by Tuesday nearly every street was open.
This did not happen by accident. Hundreds of Sanitation employees worked around the clock clearing the snow. The snow removal continued through the weekend and, when it was done, the mountains of snow were replaced by mountains of trash to be picked up.
The snow removal did not come cheap. The mayor estimated that every inch of snow cost the city about $1 million. But in this case, this money well spent.