Editor's note: Photographer Christopher Farber, a 1998 graduate of Monroe-Woodbury High School, returned to his home in Brooklyn this week after spending the previous seven days in Texas and Louisiana. Here are some of his thoughts on what he saw: The extent of the damage and the scope of the relief effort are so enormous, it is difficult to connect with the reality of it when you are on the ground there. It doesn't feel like America. But every human element I encountered while covering this story is very American, from the strength and efficiency of the armed forces to the volunteer organizations (local and national) to the social complexities that lay ahead for "evacuees." While I was in Texas and Louisiana, I was able to connect with the countless people I photographed because of the familiar lives we share as Americans. Politics, religion, hopes and dreams, struggles and adversity, all floating around in a characteristically American way, which, during a crisis, acts as a unifying force, rather than a divisive one. Catastrophic events often remind us that we are human; seeing such devastation at home, I hope, reminds us to be involved and compassionate citizens of our own country. Farber can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or through his Web site: www.christopherfarber.com.