By Alex DeMetrick

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — It’s hard not to be touched by images coming out of Japan.

Alex DeMetrick reports even one week after the quake and tsunami hit, people still feel a need to express their feelings, and locally, Washington, D.C. is the focal point.  

The flag is at half staff, and flowers are set out in front of the Japanese Embassy.

“I stopped by because it’s a citizenly thing to do, a human thing to do.  The heartfeltness of it all is so powerful. It’s a disaster, and yet we feel we must act in some way the best we can,” said Vance Burden, Washington, D.C.

What is happening in Japan is overwhelming to those who survived the massive earthquake and tsunami, but even to look at it from a vast distance leaves Americans wanting to reach out to do something.

“Oh, it’s just devastating.  It’s heartbreaking.  I’d just like to be able to help, but you know you can’t,” said Bud Witte at the Japanese Embassy.

It’s hardest for Japanese who have made America home, searching for any information to help.

“I’ll never forget those people who lost their life.  I cannot express my sorrow.  I have never had such sorrow since World War II,” said Ikuko Kobayashi-Strayer, Washington, D.C.

Even for the president of the United States, the Japanese Embassy is the closest soil to where the ground shook.  It’s the place to write a few words of condolence.

Those who aren’t presidents or ambassadors are also leaving their thoughts behind, not in the VIP room but in the embassy’s lobby.  Children from a nearby school have made their thoughts known in construction paper hearts and crayon messages.  While such gestures are small, they do add up.

Besides donations to the Red Cross, funds will also be collected at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. That event celebrates the friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

As part of WJZ‘s Continuing Community Commitment, you can support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and the Pacific Tsunami.  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.


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