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“If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago to define the word tsunami I would have probably given a humorous response, suggesting that it was an item on an Japanese menu or the name of a new Korean car. Today, however, there is nothing funny to be said that that awful word tsunami. This underwater earthquake that produced waves that swept across the Indian Ocean at 50 miles per hour and then slammed into the coastal areas with waves of water as tall as a 3-story building, washed away everything in its way for thousands of miles from India to Kenya and every island in between. The whole world stands in shock and sadness as we see over 150,000 people, a large percentage children, swept out to sea and then returned as bloated bodies. We have seen whole villages washed away and entire families killed as they sat together on a beach enjoying a vacation together. There is nothing funny about the word tsunami” (Marvin A. McMickle, from a sermon titled “A Few Words About Watching”).

The events of the past few weeks, the mudslides in California, the tsunami across the world, the deaths in Sanford last week, the accident on 46 in Geneva, all serve to remind us that life is fragile, time is limited, and tomorrow is not promised.

What makes the tsunami even more tragic, is that while the wave itself could not have been prevented, the death toll could have been significantly lowered if people on the shore had received even a few minutes of an early warning that might have allowed them to leave the beaches and move as far inland as possible. They were not warned.

Yesterday, I led a graveside service at Deltona Memorial Gardens. I happened to get there a little early, so I walked around the cemetery and looked at some of the headstones nearby. I was amazed at the number of young people I saw buried there. There were several teens there, and some people in there 20’s. I saw many places where children were buried. As I walked and looked I wondered, were they ever warned? Did anyone take the time to tell them to get ready?

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