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Thank you for the example

America has been transfixed this week by the images of devastation coming out of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The numbers are staggering. Eleven trillion gallons of rain — 51 inches in some places. Seventy-five billion dollars in estimated property losses. Twenty-five lives lost, and officials worry that number will climb as floodwaters recede and emergency workers get access to flooded areas. Nearly 10,000 people rescued by first responders in Houston as of Wednesday. One third of the Houston area under water.

Video of flooded neighborhoods, of rain coming down in sheets and of shattered homes along the Texas coast is unavoidable online or on television.

But one story coming out of the Texas disaster is bigger than even the terrible storm that spawned it. That’s the story of the heroism of average people, who have literally waded into the floodwaters, paddled kayaks through inundated streets and motored personal johnboats up to homes and vehicles isolated by the rising waters to rescue strangers.

A couple of weeks ago, America was transfixed by the video images coming out of Charlottesville — images that showed faces full of hatred and contempt, images that showed man’s capacity for violence and degradation fueled by racism and rage.

These new images — the photos and videos showing people risking their lives to save the lives of others they didn’t even know — are a reminder of the power of love.

It’s a concept that got a lot of press in the days after Charlottesville, but the thing about love is that its power is in its action, not in talking about it. In Texas, we have seen hundreds of examples of love being demonstrated through deeds, not words.

Even in the midst of its devastation, Texas gives us all hope.

To those who have lost loved ones or property to Hurricane Harvey, America prays for you. And to those who have worked to reduce the suffering and to rescue the helpless, we can only say, “Thank you for the example you have set for our nation.”