"When one person dies, it's a tragedy, but when a million people die, it's a statistic."
— Josef Stalin
The Great Tohoku Earthquake, with over 26,000 people dead and missing, falls somewhere between Stalin's cold-blooded extremes. But even with the extensive coverage of the destruction visible on TV every day it was difficult for me to Mother Nature can so easily overpower Japan's pristine infrastructure and well-organized citizenry.
Not that my stunned disbelief was going to do anything to help anyone faced with grim reality. They've turned to the business of cleaning up the mess, and finally announced that Sendai Airport, the main air hub of the area, will finally reopen April 13. Now I'd heard that the airport was flooded by the tsunami, but I didn't realize how extensive the damage was until I saw the accompanying photo of the Sendai Airport sign, half-buried in debris.
The image was especially poignant because I'd taken a similar appearing photo at the end of our family trip to Tohoku last year. The sign gleaming in the setting sun attracted me to take a quick snapshot from the bus. Compared to the current situation, ragged and gray.