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A Letter From Senator Bill Frist

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posted on Dec, 30 2004 @ 02:05 PM
I found this letter on tb2k and would like to share it with ATS members.
It covers my thoughts and feelings in regards to the Tsunami and how we can help.

Once again this morning I'm stunned. I feel like I've been hit in the stomach. It is like 9/11 but so different. There is no one to blame. No one to be mad at. It's a totally different kind of terror. But the emptiness is paralyzing -- until we realize there is something we CAN do. Act! Time is of essence. There is a moral imperative for us to act quickly.

Like you, I've watched with profound sadness as the tragedy caused by tsunamis in Southern Asia has unfolded over the past three days. More than 100,000 people have been killed -- over a third of them children. As many as 3,000 Americans are unaccounted for. And countless others have lost everything but their lives. My friend Ken Isaacs, with whom I've traveled to Sudan so many times told me late last night (on his way to Thailand and India and Indonesia to assess for our government) that as many as 5 million people are today displaced from home and family. This ranks among the worst disasters of our lifetimes and one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of all time. And it is not over.

Now, the victims face "the disaster after the disaster" -- the risk of death from cholera, malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery on an epidemic scale. The lack of potable water and water-borne illnesses will be the major killer. The tragedy will grow daily.

My position in the Senate allows me to see the bold responses of so many. Yesterday, I spent most of the day on the phone -- with my friend Carl Lindner whose son is putting together medical and relief supplies on a 747 chartered to India early next week. With Franklin Graham and my friends from Samaritan's Purse who are in the field right now with assessments and who are investing heavily especially in rural areas that so frequently escape the attention of government relief efforts. With Condi Rice and our U.S. officials. With the ambassadors and leaders of the countries affected whom I have called to express our sympathy and support. With Fred Smith, whose Fed Ex is supplying transport.

Today, I ask for YOUR help.

Sadly, there is nothing we can do to bring back the lives who have been lost. But we can pray that their souls find a peaceful place to rest. We can also pray to ease the pain of family members who have lost loved ones. If you are a person of faith -- regardless of which faith -- I ask you to do this over the coming days.

In addition to your prayers, the people of Southern Asia need your immediate assistance. They need relief and reconstruction. And they need it now. You can make a difference. What you do in the next few minutes, the next hour, the next day can help save the lives of thousands of people and ease the suffering of thousands more. Right now, families are starving. They don't have clean water. Their clinics and hospitals are overloaded. As we've seen so graphically on TV, they can't even bury their dead. People simply don't have what they need to survive. And without our help, hundreds of thousands may not survive. America will respond. And we will lead the international response. It is our moral purpose.

America must be the moral force. The United States is the most generous and caring nation on earth. And President Bush yesterday pledged the steadfast support of our government. As majority leader in the Senate, I pledge the full support of the Senate. The magnitude of this human tragedy may well define us in the years to come. The world has seen in recent years how tough the U.S. can be -- now they must see how magnanimous and caring we are as a nation. And we also must act as a people -- to show how much we Americans care about the world and our fellow human beings who hurt and are in need of hope. Now is the time for us to act. No one can sit on the sidelines.

First, consider making a donation -- even if you can only afford a few dollars. USAID has a very informative site up about the disaster and how you can help. Here's the link -- -- and another link to the list of relief organizations working in the area -- You can also click on to make a direct donation to the Red Cross. So far, as I write this, Amazon has collected more than $4 million from nearly 70,000 people! My personal recommendations based on my discussions with people on the ground there include World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, Catholic Relief Services, and International Rescue Committee. For more information about how to help those in need, visit the State Department's website at

Many of you have helped me over the past year outside of politics with the World of Hope, a charitable foundation I founded that has given 3 million dollars to HIV and public health in the last few months -- our board is today addressing the opportunity to focus current efforts on the disaster in Asia. Every American charitable and religious organization should pitch in and help. Encourage them to do so.

I also ask you to send directly to me your thoughts over the next 48 hours about what our country can do to help the tsunami victims. As Senate Majority Leader and as a doctor who has been actively involved in medical mission and relief work outside of politics, I have many resources at my disposal -- but I need your counsel and specific ideas. So please email me at with any ideas that you think may help.

I ask you to consider doing these things because lives are at stake and, if we act immediately; we can help save those lives. I know sometimes it's hard to see how a simple idea or a few dollars translate into making a difference in the world. In this case, it's crystal clear. We Americans can make a difference. Our moral purpose is to do so.

Thanks for your generosity, your ideas, and your prayers and support.

Bill Frist


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