For many Americans of my generation, Beirut was seared into our memory banks following a horrific terror attack that killed almost 250 people, almost all of them U.S. Marines, in 1983.

People who came before us are far more likely to speak of the period in which Beirut was considered the Paris of the Middle East.

Today, the current generation now has its seared-into-the-memory-bank moment of Beirut. And like for my generation, it is one of heartache and death.

The twin explosions near the city’s port have again ripped the soul out of Beirut. A land that almost certainly has known civilization for 7,000 years is again grieving. Whether today’s tragedy is accidental or intentional will address the cause, but the answer won’t bring back the dead. It won’t prevent children from the inevitable nightmares. And it won’t change the desperate need for millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in aid.

Millions of people will look at the news and shrug, comfortable in their decadent isolationism. Millions of others will offer a prayer or financial support. Be one of those people.

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