The stereotypical reaction to each new year is to face it with optimism and joy. And, hey, a chance for new beginnings—as well as renewed efforts toward peace, love, and understanding—should be celebrated. Unfortunately, we’ve started 2005 dealing with the greatest single natural disaster of our time. Happily, I trust GP readers to search their souls and do whatever is important for them, their families, and the world community—even as the appeals for aid can be numbing at a time when so many need so much, whether it’s the troops abroad, disaster victims here in the U.S., or all the other casualties of terror and nature across the globe. I also understand that charity begins at home, which is why my faith in humanity is restored every time I hear news reports of average citizens doing amazing things to assist people they don’t even know. Therefore, I am grateful to our parent company, United Business Media, for donating $100,000 to tsunami relief efforts, and initiating a matching program for employee donations. But it was something I heard while sitting in a movie theater that kicked my own little butt into action. A 20-something a few seats within earshot said to her boyfriend, “You know, I could care less about the people in Asia, and I wish everyone would just stop talking about that stupid tsunami.”
Thanks to that “sensitive” movie patron, I got mad enough to find my own way to serve in the wake of this catastrophe, and it’s inspiring fellow guitarists to help the children who were broken, brutalized, and/or orphaned by the tsunami. Next month, the very caring GP staff will kick-off a small donation drive for UNICEF, and we hope to follow this effort with other tsunami aid projects throughout 2005. This year began very darkly indeed, but I’m hoping that our little community of guitar players can help bring some goodness into a season of tragedy.