3rd ANNIVERSARY - We remember what other want to forget.
For me - this year was a year of moving on. I returned this year to Phuket - for the first time. I walked along the beaches that were invisable for 24 hours during the in and out of the tide. What was surprising was "how much better" everything was than it ever was before. That is the tricky hand of nature, isn't it. It washes away the old - and man takes advantage of the moment - and somehow seems to make it better. At least to man.
At the first year anniversary - people were still in shock - and needed to simply survive.
On the second anniversary - people needed to greive - but also needed to pass beyond the greiving.
On this, the third anniversary - we start to remember. For family and friends who lost someone - it aches. But it also says it is time to move on.
If you are visiting for the first time - don't let people forget. Read through the hundreds of stories and comments in this blog - and remember those who survived. And died.
Peace to all.
Stories to read for 3rd anniversary:
CALANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - Hundreds of Indonesians prayed at ma
ss graves in Aceh province on Wednesday to remember relatives who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami three years ago.
On December 26, 2004, giant waves triggered by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded pulverized villages along Indian Ocean shores, killing or leaving missing about 230,000 people.
Aceh, on the northwestern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island, suffered the most, with about 170,000 dead or missing and billions of dollars in losses.
"We pray for the victims that God may accept their good deeds," said Kamal Usman, a survivor in Calang, an area in western Aceh where hundreds of officials and residents prayed at a ceremony to mark the anniversary.
Elsewhere in Indonesia, thousands of factory workers and villagers scrambled to higher ground as sirens blared in a drill to mark the third anniversary of the disaster.
In Ciwandan on the shore of northwestern Java, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono watched the drill to test a tsunami early warning system.
As part of the drill, authorities also tested the response of emergency relief teams to a mock chemical leak in a factory if an 8.5 magnitude quake were to hit the area.
"We hope through this exercise people begin to understand that they live in a tsunami-prone area and know what to do in case of an emergency," said Ami Pramitasari of the research and technology ministry, which led the drill.
Since the tsunami, Indian Ocean countries have installed expensive warning systems and staged periodic evacuation drills to prepare better for another such disaster. Indonesia, situated in a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire," has installed sirens along the coast of quake-prone islands such as Sumatra and Java.
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of BRR, the agency charged with rebuilding the Indonesian regions hit by the tsunami, said the reconstruction pace was the fastest in the world.
"There are shortfalls which of course need to be addressed but BRR and all parties that are working in rehabilitating and reconstructing Aceh and Nias have shown significant achievements," he said in a statement.
Mangkusubroto said more than 100,000 homes had been rebuilt in Aceh and another 20,000 were due to be completed by June next year.