People’s column

American resolve still resonates


I remember watching Eric Sevareid in the mid 1960s on CBS interviewing Eric Hoffer about his new book. It had a quote that has come back to me many times over the years.

Sevareid asked Hoffer what he thought made Americans different from other countries. Hoffer said it was the competence of the people. He used this example of a group of San Franciscans going up in the mountains and setting up a new community. One by one the leaders are accidentally killed and as fast as they die new people step up to fill the void as they succeed.

Watching on TV the hurricanes and now Las Vegas, American competence was on display. The Cajun Navy and long lines of trucks pulling boats on the Houston Interstates to a young man’s voice saying “we need your truck to transport people to the hospital,” a young girl’s immediate response, “yea sure as many as you want.” Our American ancestors should be mighty proud of their descendant.