By Brian Williams Anchor & “Nightly News” managing editor
NBC News
updated 12/29/2004 7:48:42 PM ET 2004-12-30T00:48:42

Finally tonight, a word about these numbers: the rapidly escalating estimate of the dead in the tsunami. With the numbers reaching 60, 70, even 80,000, who can possibly identify with that kind of loss?

It almost becomes too much for the onlooking world, already so sad.

Americans have some understanding of it. They've lived through the tragedy of 9/11, after all. Different, of course, as it was an attack by man and not nature.

But what's so haunting to so many Americans are the missing posters. They are all so sad — all of them. Someone's brother or sister, husband or wife, son or daughter, father or mother. And so many end in darkness.

But some of them, as we have learned, end ... in light. There have been reunions.

The 20-day-old baby, who somehow floated on a mattress along raging waters in Malaysia. Her mother called it a "real miracle."

Will every day now mean more to all of them? We have no choice but to hope it will. They owe it to all those parents with empty arms tonight.

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